Rob Morrison speaks to supporters on election night at the Fire Hall Kitchen & Tap in Cranbrook Monday, October 21st. Photo by Trevor Crawley

Rob Morrison ready to get to work

Kootenay Columbia’s new MP reflects on the campaign, and looks ahead

Three days after the dust settled, the Kootenay-Columbia’s new Member of Parliament is ready to jump into his new job.

Speaking from Ottawa Thursday morning, Mr. Morrison said he is in the capital now to do an orientation and sign some documents. But he also has an issue he wants to raise with Canada Post on behalf of constituents in the small community of Grasmere (south of Elko).

“I might as well get to work,” he remarked.

This year’s federal election results saw Mr. Morrison sweep the Kootenay-Columbia with 7,186 more votes than the NDP’s Wayne Stetski (according to preliminary results). The tally was a surprise to Mr. Morrison as much as anybody, he said. By comparison, in 2015 Mr. Stetski’s position was earned by a narrow 282-vote margin.

“We always came in as the underdogs. It’s hard with the incumbent who has a lot of press time and has been around and has already built up relationships,” Mr. Morrison said. “We knew it would be an uphill battle. The days leading up the election, we were behind in the polls. It was pretty nerve-wracking.”

He said in talking to constituents – his team knocked on around 20,000 doors through the campaign – he built up trust with voters, speculating that is why the riding opted for him.

“I think it was a matter of getting out and talking to people, building up confidence with them that I was a person who could do the job and represent them with my background and history with senior management and senior government, and the international side … people were looking for some leadership.”

Kootenay-Columbia’s voter turnout surpassed the national average of almost 66 per cent.

“The turnout was unbelievable at 72 per cent; that’s one of the highest in the country,” Mr. Morrison said. “I’m just so grateful they did come out and vote and supported me … I’m going to hold myself accountable, to build on what we want and need for the Kootenay-Columbia region.”

Mr. Morrison said there are national and international items to deal with in Ottawa. But he will be bringing the Kootenay-Columbia issues to the forefront too. He cited the fluctuation in prices of coal in the Elk Valley as an example, and the concerns in the logging industry.

“That’s my takeaway, is to try and look after all the jobs that we have throughout our Kootenay Columbia.”

He also wants to take a hard look at how the economy can be stabilized and grow.

“I am 100 per cent in favour of the pipeline, and our climate change program we have. I think we have to look after the economy, and that will look after a lot of these other items such as climate change.”

In speaking to the Columbia Valley Pioneer, Mr. Morrison also noted the concerns about our relationship with Alberta.

“We have to have a solid relationship with the province right beside us,” he said. “Traveling around, there were so many people that are directly affected by Alberta, by the energy sector … we have to support our neighbours.”

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