Jenica Atwin first came to the Green Party during the provincial election last year with the goal of speaking to communities that are often left out of politics.
Raised in Oromocto, Atwin has worked for ten years in education, focusing on Indigeous education in local high schools. She began her career at Oromocto High School working with Oromocto First Nation, before spending four years at Fredericton HIgh School with Kingsclear First Nation. She was then involved in educational research on behalf of 12 of the Indigenous communities in New Brunswick with First Nation Education Initiative Incorporated (FNEII).
She says her experience in this field was a great motivator in drawing her towards politics.
“There’s a lot of things I think we need to do better on” said Atwin.
Atwin says she has noticed a lot of social and economic barriers, “It has really fueled my desire to become involved in politics”.
Atwin ran as the Green Party candidate for New Maryland-Sunbury in the 2018 provincial election, aiming to be representation for those who had been left voiceless, even though she did not win. After being inspired following the premature death of a former classmate, she found herself reinvigorated to follow her dreams and join another race, this time at the federal level.
If elected, Atwin’s first priority would be mental health focused healthcare, informed by her time in education.
“I can't tell you how many times youth have come to me and disclosed that they were thinking about taking their life, that they're experiencing really intense anxieties or other self harming behaviors,” she said, “I remember feeling very helpless in those times. And I don't want to feel that way. I want us to know, we have the resources that we need or in those times of crisis”.
Atwin describes herself as people oriented and having a loud voice—traits that she believes will help her advocate for her constituents in Ottawa. She wants to be an alternative voice for those who have become disengaged with the current rhetoric.
“At the doorstep, we're hearing a lot of apathy. We're hearing a lot of disdain for what they've seen, we're hearing a lot of people just frustrated with the current back and forth. They're not sure what either of the two leading parties stand for anymore, because it's just been such a confusing four years, I think. I feel that as a voter as well. And so they're looking for an alternative,” she said.
Atwin looks forward to bringing her experience in education to politics, saying that the two fields are more similar than they appear.
“It’s not that far from being a teacher,” said Atwin, “It's about educating and listening and learning. We're all learning in this together”.