First Time Rosslander Candidate Goes Green

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
September 19th, 2008

With the Liberal and NDP candidates in the upcoming federal election based out of Castlegar and the Conservative candidate hailing from Oliver, Andy Morel, the Green Party candidate, is Rossland’s only local in the running.

Originally from Ontario, where he received a certificate in outdoor leadership from Sir Sanford Fleming College and worked as director of the material management department of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Parry Sound, Morel relocated to Rossland over a decade ago, pulled west by his love of the outdoors.

Morel has been actively involved in the community during his 11 years in Rossland as a director of the Blackjack Ski Club from 1999-2007. He has also run two businesses offering instruction and program development for Nordic skiers as well as a home renovating venture.

The desire to make his first run at a seat in the legislature was born out of a feeling that Canada and the world in general were not heading down the right path.

“I’m a CBC junkie. I love to hear about how Canada and the world is unfolding, and I reached a point in my life where I realized it’s not unfolding as I’d like it to be or as I believe a lot of Canadians would like it to be. We’re soiling our own backyard and we’ve certainly created an unsustainable lifestyle. We’re one of the least populated countries in the world and yet one of the most exploited in terms of our natural resources.”

Having two children aged 20 and 22 and thinking about their future and any potential grandchildren’s future, a desire to help change the world for the better drew him towards the Green Party’s platform of helping the economy through green practices.

When asked what Rossland’s only local candidate would do for our mountainside town if elected on October 14, Morel relayed his concerns regarding local discontent around development and change.
“No question, the community is going through a lot of transition right now. I want to see us continue to promote and develop as both a recreational destination and a unique community based on technology and future development. I think there’s a great opportunity for us, and I would love to make sure that Rossland benefits from a diverse amount of people coming into the community, that we keep it affordable, and that we keep it inclusive.”

Regarding the issue of the global economic slowdown, Morel believes we must grow Rossland’s business community into new areas, and that we as residents must take on a greater responsibility to reduce our energy use.
“Rossland and the Kootenays have to key themselves for diversity so that we can weather any one particular sector suffering. That’s going to be a challenge, there’s no question. I think people in all different walks of life are going to be affected by an economic slowdown. We’ll have to change lifestyle habits, and we’ll have to change some of the patterns that we traditionally have come to appreciate to soften the blow.”

This being his first venture into the political ring, the first two weeks of the election campaign have been a learning process for Morel, full of stressful as well as enjoyable moments spent meeting the community and fielding their questions and concerns.

“Probably one of the most unique things I’ve done so far has been the Spearhead concert last Wednesday over in Ymir,” Morel said. “It was just a great Kootenay celebration, with lots of funky people, tremendous diversity in age, little babies all the way up to senior citizens and lots of people with earplugs like myself. I was doing some campaigning and talking to people about their concerns and issues. It was quite an experience.”

If he does manage to win the support of the BC Southern Interior riding, Andy looks forward to bringing his passion for the outdoors to the legislature. He relishes the opportunity to bring his positive and energetic attitude to Ottawa.

If elected, he’ll also be sampling the idyllic ski terrain not far from the House of Commons. “I’m very familiar with the great cross country terrain of the Gatineaus,” the candidate notes. “I skied the Gatineau 55 (a marathon Nordic race) a couple of times and have skied the Gatineau hills plenty. Yes, for sure my skies will be with coming with me.”

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