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MP Jenica Atwin switch to the Liberals leaves voters uncertain

Click to play video: 'Mixed reaction in Fredericton regarding MP’s reaction to leave Green Party' Mixed reaction in Fredericton regarding MP’s reaction to leave Green Party
There’s mixed reaction in Fredericton to their MP’s decision to leave the Green Party and join the governing Liberals. Whether Jenica Atwin can win the re-election with her new party remains to be seen. Nathalie Sturgeon has the story. – Jun 11, 2021

The decision by former Green MP Jenica Atwin to cross parties lines has left voters in her riding surprised and questioning how they’ll vote in the next election.

On Thursday, Atwin, alongside Beauséjour MP Dominic LeBlanc, announced she’d be sitting as an MP under the Liberal banner. It was due to infighting with Green Party leader Annamie Paul.

However, Cheryl Norrad said she questions the decision.

Read more: Green Party MP Jenica Atwin crossing the floor to join the Liberal Party

“I mean I think she felt very alienated,” she said on Friday. “I can understand that, but I think she jumped ship before things were worked out. So, it makes me question her loyalty and her sticktoitiveness.”

Fiona Williams voted for Atwin in the 2019 election.

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“I don’t understand, yet, all the story behind it. It was a surprise to me. I voted for her, I liked her as a candidate, but I also voted for her because she was with the Green Party. So ya, I haven’t decided yet,” Williams said.

For political scientist Jamie Gillies, what is in store for Atwin remains to be seen

“That’s the situation Jenica Atwin now finds herself in whether people in Fredericton who supported her candidacy will now cross over and support her as a Liberal,” he said.

Read more: Around 400 complaints of false statements made during 2019 election campaign investigated

University of Alberta political scientist Jared Wesley said voters often misunderstand why candidates cross the floor.

“Women who switch parties are far more likely to be painted as doing it for opportunistic reasons, so I think we need to check our assumptions about this,” he said in an interview Friday.

He said talks about Atwin joining the Liberal ranks have been ongoing and there is no evidence she did it to make advancement in Ottawa.

Political analyst Katie Davey said she thinks as long Atwin sticks to her principles she’ll be OK in the next election.

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New Brunswick Green Party leader David Coon feels differently.

Read more: MPs adopt Bloc motion saying it would be irresponsible to hold election amid COVID-19

He said in a statement on Thursday Atwin’s principles won’t find a home with the Liberals and said floor crossing is problematic.

Coon said he spoke with Atwin a week before the announcement about running a federal Green campaign and her decision was a shock.

“I was stunned,” he said. “It’s certainly been hard for those of us who worked so hard working her campaign to get elected.”

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