MPP Suze Morrison who represents Toronto Centre where Ryerson is located, speaks with CJRU about the past year, her new podcast and how the pandemic has transformed civic engagement. Reflecting on 2020, She notes that her motion calling for an evictions moratorium as a major highlight. In this interview recorded in early December, MPP Morrison adds that she isn’t celebrating just yet because they are waiting on Premier Doug Ford to sign the emergency order and bring the moratorium into effect, which is something that he can complete as quickly as he likes. When it comes to challenges in 2020, there are many to choose from but the current state of long term care is high on the list. Looking into 2021, Morrison is also hoping for a more concrete plan around getting the COVID-19 vaccine to the public.
Civic engagement was another area that fundamentally shifted throughout 2020. For MPP Morrison, it changed how she interacted with constituents and supported NDP candidate Brian Chang in the federal by-election earlier this year. The limits on social gatherings did allow for some new avenues of communications such as her Stories for Change podcast, where she archives digital town halls and turns debates into digestible content. She mentions that it involves more transferable skills than one might think.
“As a politician, as a political human being, stories have always been foundational to how I relate to policy and how I relate to politics… Our stories are powerful, our lived experiences and the way we narrate those lived experiences frame us. They’re foundational to our whole identity and the way that we interact with and navigate the world. It’s a tool I use everyday in the legislature… it’s me standing up and sharing the stories that my constituents have shared with me around housing, poverty, precarity, racism, and their climate anxiety.”