University of Waterloo student, Andrew Moraga, has been named the NDP candidate for Kitchener-Centre for the upcoming federal election. Moraga, an ecologist and environmental researcher, won the nomination on February 10.
He describes himself as “a person of colour from a multi-ethnic background, a proud member of the LGBTQ-plus community, an environmental advocate, a scientist, and so much more” in a statement sent to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.
A resident of Kitchener’s Civic Centre area, Moraga is working on his doctorate in social and ecological sustainability at the School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability and has volunteered for various groups over the last decade.
When asked why he was interested in running for office Moraga told Imprint,
“I don’t feel represented in politics and a lot of people that I know don’t feel represented in politics. We are increasingly aware that we need stronger action on climate change and social equity movements for fair treatment of all individuals, but we are not seeing that awareness or pressure translate into the necessary action at the policy level. I decided that I would no longer wait on the side lines for these changes to maybe or maybe not come about. I will be the change that I want to see in the world to demonstrate that our voices are powerful and we need to use them for our democracy to be strong.”
He believes that society and economic systems make it difficult for people to succeed without pulling each other down.
“I will advocate for investment in our people, in our communities, and in the creation of systems that lift people up. We should embody the spirit of the system as society today recognizes it should operate. We need to support communities in adapting to climate change from home retro-fit programs to strong climate action through policy. We need to support workers in the coming tide of automation and artificial intelligence to ensure access to new job training programs for up-skilling and re-skilling affected individuals.
We need to fundamentally consider our actions through equity and accessibility lenses to ensure that the way we design infrastructure and programs are inclusive to all members of our society from the beginning of planning phases right to implementation. I believe that we can build a green economy that is net-zero in carbon emissions with strong middle class jobs for Canadians and economic prosperity for all,” Moraga said.
He also had a special message for students.
“I want students to know that voting matters, even if the candidate you support does not win your presence makes a difference. The demographic information of who votes is recorded and at the end of elections that information is made publicly available. If we want political parties to include planks in their platforms that represent us we need to ensure that we’re showing up to the ballot box. Every individual who votes is a voice added to the push for more diverse and inclusive policy platforms for all parties, even if that’s spoiling your ballot because you disagree with all candidates. We the people are powerful and I want to remind everyone of that with my candidacy.”
Moraga will be contesting the encumbent Liberal MP Raj Saini.