I wish to address the many questions that have understandably come my way in light of my recent decision to change political affiliation as the Member of Parliament for Fredericton.
My former party became an unwelcome place for me for many reasons. When advocating for party policy, I was not supported, my calls for dialogue were ignored, and it left me questioning how I could move forward, doing my best work in the name of my constituents while facing so much uncertainty. I had a decision to make.
I have been asked why I did not choose to sit as an independent MP and let voters decide come election time which political party should represent them. I understand this view, and I certainly gave it many hours of thought, as well as the idea of walking away completely. During this crucial, transformative time in our society, I believed that neither was the best option for the constituents of Fredericton. We have just lived through a pandemic, there is so much need in our community that it didn’t seem fair to make a stand in this way and not be able to deliver. The urgency I felt in 2019 when running for a seat in the House of Commons has now increased ten-fold.
The reason I joined politics was to make a difference. To say things most people won’t say and to push initiatives for people and the planet. My priorities remain mental health, environmental stewardship, human rights, and social justice. I made my mark in Parliament with a respectful approach and cross-partisan collaboration. I brought the voices of Fredericton to Ottawa, pushed constituency files through the bureaucracy with an incredible team, and worked to the best of my abilities for our beautiful riding. I was presented with the option of joining the Liberal party of Canada to work on a diverse team in government. I disclosed the issues that are important for me to keep working on and I was accepted.
Despite the hurt feelings and confusion, there is a lot to be hopeful for and optimistic about. Many are worried that my voice will not be respected. While it is still new, I have to say that the kindness and encouragement I have been afforded from my new colleagues has been incredible, especially in contrast to the hate that has come my way. I have an NB caucus, an Atlantic Caucus, and a National Caucus who believe in me and what I have to offer. We have been talking pharmacare, senior support, housing, post-pandemic healing, and mental health as well as a guaranteed liveable income. These are initiatives I know are important to Fredericton and Canadians across the country. I would be remiss to not mention the mass graves being uncovered at the sites of former residential schools. Those children, their families, and wolastoqiyik from right here at home will inform and guide the road ahead.
I have said that the work will speak for itself. That I will show rather than tell. I know all too well that I am facing an uphill battle, but I know how to fight. I have to be true to myself, and I have to keep moving forward. My hope is that you will move forward with me.