For the first time ever, Fredericton’s gone Green.
The federal New Brunswick riding elected Green Party candidate Jenica Atwin, who pushed out Liberal incumbent Matt DeCourcey.
“I will fight to protect the environment, our home and all that dwell upon it,” Atwin told her supporters Monday night after learning she’d won. “I will fight for the water — the oceans, the rivers, our life blood. I will fight for the winged ones, the four-legged, the insects, the trees. I will fight for justice.”
Atwin, a mother of two, was born and raised in the Fredericton area, and for the last decade has worked for a local First Nation education organization focused on helping kids through high school.
Along with being Fredericton’s first Green, she is also its first female MP.
“Tonight we have proven you can be many things. You can be a woman, a mother, an activist, a feminist, an environmentalist,” Atwin said, to loud applause.
She campaigned on the idea that she’s not a politician, but rather an educator and concerned Canadian.
“What has motivated me to run federally is my passion for people,” Atwin said in a video from earlier in the campaign. “I feel compelled to lend my skills and go to work for the people of Fredericton because we need a better voice, I believe we can build a Canada we deserve to have and want to have to hand over to our children.”
Fredericton residents have been experiencing climate change first hand — the Saint John River has flooded three years in a row. Water has submerged parts of the city’s downtown, highways and homes.
Watch: Where the parties stand on climate change. Story continues below.
But it was still a tight race for Atwin, who beat Conservative candidate Andrea Johnson by only about 1,400 votes, securing around 34 per cent support.
Her win represents the Green Party’s first federal victory in Atlantic Canada, but rides on a surge of regional popularity. P.E.I elected eight Greens provincially earlier this year, and New Brunswick elected three in 2018.
Party leader Elizabeth May said she toured the Maritimes twice during the 2019 election, and has been a consistent part of Atwin’s campaign.
“We’re growing in Atlantic Canada. Whether we were growing enough to get a win was the big question,” May told a reporter from her election party headquarters in Vancouver.
“Jenica, pack your bags, honey, I think you’re coming to Ottawa.”