Lenore Morris, candidate for the Yukon Green Party is running in the upcoming federal election. (Submitted)

Lenore Morris, candidate for the Yukon Green Party is running in the upcoming federal election. (Submitted)

Meet the candidates: the Green Party’s Lenore Morris

Lenore Morris is the returning candidate for the Yukon Greens after she raised the party’s vote share by seven per cent of the vote in 2019.

Morris, a Whitehorse-based lawyer, was kayaking in British Columbia when the 2021 surprise election interrupted her vacation plans. Her campaign team was still the first to have signs up around town.

“I think most of us are thinking, ‘Why are we even having this election?’” she said. “But it’s five weeks, it’s time to get out there and talk to as many people as you possibly can.”

On the doorstep, Morris said the key issues of this campaign have been the housing crisis, COVID-19 vaccine debates and climate change.

“I feel like if you look at the stats over the last 20 years, it’s just astonishing, the increase in housing prices. It’s across Canada, but it’s particularly here,” she said. “The federal government has a role in this that I would say, they have completely abdicated. The Yukon gets over a billion dollars a year in funding from the federal government and very little of that’s directed at housing. Housing is the number one issue.”

As far as national policies to cool down the market, the Greens have proposed an “empty home tax” on foreign and corporate residential property owners. They’ve also set aside one per cent of GST to housing and municipal infrastructure.

Morris said a surprise issue has been vaccine mandates and passports.

While she is unequivocally pro-vaccine — “There’s a lot of people that have chosen not to be vaccinated. I don’t agree with that,” she said — she added that she’s uncomfortable with mandatory vaccines and doesn’t like how it has become a political wedge issue.

“People who don’t want to be vaccinated, some of them have really dug in their heels. I think it’s unfortunate that it’s turned into this big public shouting match. It’s a public health issue. There should have been a lot more public consultation involved before the measures [to restrict unvaccinated people] were announced,” she said.

Finally, Morris said the namesake issue for the Green Party — climate change and the environment — is also top of mind.

“I would say the biggest difference between the Green Party in particular and the other parties is that we’re willing to say, ‘[Fossil fuel industries] have to stop.’ We have to stop expanding these industries. Oil sands have doubled in their production since 2000. They’re not flat, they have grown wider year after year. They’re not winding down.”

“The interesting thing is that most of Canada is actually doing pretty good. But we’ve got Alberta and Saskatchewan, continuing to increase their greenhouse gas emissions, you have to completely offset all of the other provinces’ improvements,” she said.

Morris said in the Yukon in particular, renewable energy projects are important. The Greens have a goal for all Canadian electricity to be renewable by 2030.

“That’s one where the First Nations in the Yukon have taken real leadership,” she said.

“We really feel that the Green Party and Indigenous groups are natural allies. We are a natural ally for them because we want a lot of the same things: we want a sustainable environment and we want social justice.”

Read other profiles:

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Election 2021