New Brunswick

Greens celebrate first federal seat in New Brunswick

Fredericton voters made history Monday night, electing the province's first ever Green member of Parliament and giving the Greens their first seat east of British Columbia.

'I'm just so proud,' Jenica Atwin says after becoming first Green to be elected east of B.C.

Jenica Atwin is the first Green candidate to win a federal seat east of B.C., taking the riding of Fredericton. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

Fredericton voters made history Monday night, electing the province's first ever Green member of Parliament and giving the Greens their first seat east of British Columbia.

"I'm just so proud," Jenica Atwin said after her victory in the previously Liberal riding was declared late in the night.

"Our hard work is paying off."

Hundreds of Green supporters whooped and hollered for Atwin at a small brewery on Fredericton's north side as the results came in.

Green supporters crammed into a small brewery on Fredericton's north side on Monday night. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

"They are going to hear me, they are going to hear us, and we are going to make the world a better place," she told them. 

Atwin led much of the night, with about 33 per cent of the vote, but Conservative Andrea Johnson wasn't far behind, with about 30 per cent.

Liberal Matt DeCourcey, who has held the seat for the past four years, was third, with about 27 per cent of the vote, and the NDP trailed with about six per cent.

Fredericton voters made history on Monday as Green party candidate Jenica Atwin became first-ever Green MP elected east of British Columbia. 2:44

Atwin called the results "a historic win as a Green and as a woman," and said she's ready to get started in her new role as MP.

"Canada is looking at Fredericton. They're looking at New Brunswick. So we're just so excited about this result."

During the campaign, a lot of eyes were on the Fredericton riding, which has chosen a Liberal or Conservative in recent elections. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May spent time in the riding in the closing days of the campaign, as did Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

DeCourcey won almost half the vote in 2015, when the Liberal Party swept all 10 ridings in the province. Fredericton went Conservative in the 2008 and 2011 elections, but at the provincial level, voters have been showing increased support for the Greens. 

The party had its first breakthrough in the Maritimes in 2014, when the New Brunswick Green Party leader, David Coon, won a seat in the legislature. In last year's provincial election, the Green caucus expanded to three seats.

Atwin attributed her win to door-knocking, successful debates and the support she received from Coon, whose example as an MLA she considered crucial to her success.

"[The voters] really needed to see what a Green could do before they would trust their vote in this way," she said.

Hundreds of Green supporters cheered as Atwin entered the brewery on Monday night. (Mike Heenan/CB)

Throughout the federal campaign, Atwin, who works in Indigenous education, focused on climate change, mental illness, poverty and a need for reconciliation with First Nations. 

She said her team did everything it could to communicate with voters and spread the message.

"It's nice to see that dot of green," she said. 

About the Author

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

With files from CBC's Jacques Poitras

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