Jenica Atwin keeps her seat after switching from Greens to Liberals

It took a couple more days to complete the count, but Jenica Atwin has been re-elected in Fredericton, this time for the Liberals, by a narrow margin of just over 500 votes.

“We are here now to celebrate,” Atwin said Wednesday afternoon while addressing supporters in the same ballroom where they had gathered on Monday’s election night. “Fredericton, we did it again.”

In 2019, Atwin won the Greens’ race by beating conservative Andrea Johnson by about 1,600 votes. In June, he crossed the field to join the Liberals after a public feud with Green Party leader Annamie Paul.

Atwin called the green leader’s statement on the violence in the Palestinian territories “completely inappropriate” and called on Israel to “#EndApartheid” in a Twitter post on May 11.

That post has since been removed, although Atwin told CTV’s Question Period on June 13, “I certainly stand by what I’m saying.” The next day, he adjusted his stance on Israel to align himself with the ruling liberal party he had just joined.

On Monday, the lead shifted back and forth between Atwin and Johnson on numerous occasions, and by the end of the night the result was too close to call with more than 2,500 mail-in ballots and absentee ballots yet to be counted.

“We have been holding our breath for two days,” Atwin said Wednesday after the final result was announced.

He thanked his supporters and was moved to thank family members for their support during his switch to the Liberals and the subsequent election campaign.

Atwin appealed to all who participated in the riding, especially those who did not vote for it. “Come talk to me, come work with my office for anything you need,” he said. “I know we have more points in common than what divides us.”

And Atwin said the same about Parliament, which he described as dysfunctional before the elections. “It is time to put aside our differences. We have great things that we have to offer Canadians right now,” he said.

With Atwin’s victory, the Liberals captured six of New Brunswick’s seats, while the Conservatives took the other four.

Jenica Atwin wins re-election after switching from Greens to Liberals in Fredericton. #ItsOurVote #CdnPoli # Elxn44

In a post on her Facebook campaign page, Johnson thanked the people who voted for her and said she was “truly honored.” He said the results show a cavalcade “almost completely cut in half” and, like Atwin, called for unity.

“Both the left and the right have to listen more and talk less. Be more tolerant and less critical. Look for similarities, not differences,” Johnson wrote.

Atwin’s win for the Greens in 2019 was one of three for the game, and it was his only seat east of British Columbia. This time, the Green Party was represented in the race by University of New Brunswick law professor Nicole O’Byrne. He finished a distant third, just 102 votes ahead of the NDP’s Shawn Oldenburg.

This Canadian Press report was first published on September 22, 2021.

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