BC Liberal MLA Mike Morris, who represents Prince George-Mackenzie, says he won’t seek re-election. (Photo courtesy of BC Liberals)

BC Liberal MLA Mike Morris, who represents Prince George-Mackenzie, says he won’t seek re-election. (Photo courtesy of BC Liberals)

Long-time MLA Mike Morris won’t seek re-election in Prince George riding

Morris cited personal reasons for his decision and wants to give his party plenty of notice

One of the most popular politicians and familiar faces in northern British Columbia won’t seek re-election.

BC Liberal MLA Mike Morris, who served 32 years in the RCMP before entering politics, said it’s time for somebody else to carry the party’s banner.

“I have been in public service for 50 years. I thought the time has come to (step away) and give people in the region the opportunity to give it lots of thought to what they might be able to offer the residents of (my riding) in the upcoming election,” he said.

“It’s time. I will be 70 this year. I have got grandkids, I have got all kind of things I’d like to do.”

Voters in Prince George-Mackenzie elected Morris in 2013, 2017 and 2020. He received no less than 50 per cent in any of the three elections and approached 60 per cent in 2017 when he won more than 57 per cent of the vote.

He served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General from December 2015 to July 2017. He was also Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Morris is deeply familiar with Prince George specifically and northern B.C. generally. He started his career with the RCMP in 1973 in Prince George before returning to the community in 1996, where he also returned in 2005 as Superintendent for the North District. Between his stops in Prince George, Morris served mainly across northern British Columbia notwithstanding a stop in Vancouver and Alberta, transferring 14 times overall.

Morris said his RCMP career gave him a deep familiarity with the geography, economy and infrastructure of northern British Columbia, as well as its people and its towns.

His RCMP career also helped him prepare for his career after it.

“Policing and politics have a lot in common and that’s people and that’s problems and that’s policy and that’s trying to solve problems that are causing public safety issues,” he said. 

“I didn’t realize it until I got into politics. It’s was a great transitional platform to get into politics. You are used to dealing with legislation, I am used to case law, I am used to knowing what the authorities are for anybody to do anything. It was a good training ground for me and of course, it taught me a lot of patience, which is what you need, when you are in politics, because things don’t move fast.”

Morris, who has a great interest in bio-diversity, said that he hopes he moved the needle on the public’s understanding of B.C.’s forests.

During his tenure, Morris led infrastructure projects around Prince George, including replacing two major bridges on Highway 97 – both “sorely needed to enhance transportation north of town.”

It is not clear yet who will be replacing Morris, which is one of the reasons he gave plenty of time for the party to find their next candidate before the next election anticipated for October 2024.

Mike Morris caucus biography (abridged)

Born in Quesnel, and with a passion for the outdoors, Mike Morris has been an active hunter, fisherman, trapper and camper for more than 50 years. He started hunting in the Central Interior in the early ’70s and bought his first registered trapline in the area in 1984. Using those early years as a benchmark, he saw the cumulative effects of resource development and silviculture practices causing him to take those concerns to the provincial government as part of his role on the executive of the B.C. Trappers Association starting in 2005.

Prior to becoming an MLA, Morris joined the RCMP in 1973, beginning his 32-year career in Prince George. He retired in 2005 after 14 transfers throughout much of northern B.C. For most of his last 10 years of service, Morris was in charge of policing for the northern 75 per cent of the province, visiting every First Nations community, village, town, district and city in his area of responsibility.

Mike Morris was elected as MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie in 2013, 2017, and 2020. He currently serves as Shadow Minister for Public Safety and Solicitor General.

Morris has served as Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and in that capacity, travelled the province conducting a wildlife habitat review. His report “Getting the Balance Right” was published in 2015, just prior to him being appointed the Minister for Public Safety and Solicitor General, a position he held until 2017.

Morris maintains a close association with policing and social justice issues through his two sons who are both RCMP members, a daughter-in-law who is a 9-1-1 dispatcher, and another daughter-in-law who is a social worker for First Nations children and families. He and his wife Chris have been married for 42 years.

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