Natalie Arsenault wants to bring something different to the table if she’s elected Beausejour’s newest MP next week.
The Green Party candidate said she believes many voters are growing tired of the same old rhetoric coming from the same old parties and are looking for someone who can bring meaningful change to Canada.
“I think people have gotten to the point they’re not really confident in anyone there,” said Arsenault. “They’re waiting for someone to step and say something new, to spark a little hope for some of the people out there.”
Arsenault, who first tested the political waters during last fall's provincial election when she ran for the Green Party in Shediac-Cap-Pele, is a stay-at-home mother of three who operates a booth every Saturday at the Moncton Market. She sells natural-living essentials, such as stainless steel water bottles, baby slings and hammocks as well as other homemade items.
She is also heavily involved in a group she founded in Moncton called Birth Talk, a monthly discussion group which focuses on natural birth, infancy, breast feeding, potty training, and other topics.
Arsenault has always been a firm believer in being sustainable and self-sufficient in all parts of her life, and believes many others are looking to follow the same path.
But she pointed out that government’s inaction on issues that should be a greater priority, such as ensuring a clean and safe water supply and creating more opportunities for local markets, is making voters lose hope.
“A lot of people, at least in my inner circle, have become so discouraged with the direction that government is going that they’ve become despondent,” said Arsenault.
But apathy is not the reaction that is needed, she insisted.
“That’s not going to create the change we need.”
She hopes to reach as many people as she can this election campaign with her message, especially those voters who have been disheartened by ineffective measures taken by government.
“They don’t see changes . . . we keep going down this slippery slope of spending money,” said Arsenault. “We have to start looking at different ways of doing things. We need more diversity within government to create a whole view of the world.”
If elected, Arsenault said she would like to see a number of issues addressed, such as concerns over water safety and creating a more local economy.
She said producers who are trying to sell their goods locally are finding there is not enough of a market to make a decent living.
“We need to create opportunities for local people to present themselves to the public, to make this a viable market for them.”
Farmers’ markets are a first step but they are only available once a week, which is not enough to sustain the seller or the customer, said Arsenault.
“We need to create more cooperatives and more community-based platforms for people to sell their goods.”
Arsenault admits her party’s biggest challenge this election, as in previous campaigns, has been getting the media coverage the other political parties enjoy.
She said the Green Party is not included in the regular polls that are conducted, meaning they have a harder time convincing voters the Greens are a solid alternative despite a platform that has connected with the electorate.
“There are so many people concerned with environment issues, it’s hard to believe the Greens are not leading the pack.”
Arsenault pointed out the Greens are a party that wants to move the country forward, “not just for the next four years but for the next generation.”
And she encourages voters to consider that when they head to the polls on Monday.“Things are changing so quickly; we need to look beyond our own needs and wants. We need to look at what would be in our childrens’ and our grandchildrens’ best interest