The Crayon Box: Making Waves

Two Liberal candidates responded to my interview request: Stephanie Tomilson (Rothesay) and Brigitte Noel (Gagetown-Petitcodiac). While the Liberal Party currently holds a majority, these two seats are held by members of the PC Party, something these candidates are looking to change. Ms. Noel became a politician simply because she wanted things to change in her area, and decided to take some advice her grandfather had once given her, “If you want to change something, stand up and go for it”. Ms. Tomilson has been involved in her community from a young age, so for her, politics was a natural next step.
Ms. Tomilson is a high school principal and so had some things to say about the education system. She believes one of the jobs of the education system is to prepare students to succeed in whatever path they choose, whether that be university, apprenticeship, going straight to work, or something else. She agrees that the education system needs to be improved, but says that she feels progress is being made. Ms. Noel thinks the free tuition plan for post-secondary is a “fantastic initiative” and wants to see more money spent on the education system and the healthcare system. Ms. Tomilson’s parents own a special care home, which she believes has given her a better idea of the system. She says that there are many preventative and early intervention steps that could be taken and that the government needs to communicate more with professionals to move forward.
Crayon time: Ms. Noel is our second black crayon, saying that in the same way that black is what we see when all colours are absorbed, humanity has more strength when we work as one. Ms. Tomilson said that she would be any colour as long as she was a Crayola Twistable®, which came in plastic tubes that you twisted to “sharpen”.
Ms. Noel stressed the importance to get out and vote. Ms. Tomilson gave a similar message, saying that, “If you think your vote doesn’t matter, and you don’t vote, then you make it so. Decisions are made by those who show up.” She says always tells students not to be afraid of the word ‘no.’
When discussing the topic of the perception that politicians will go back on their word, Ms. Noel said people should pay attention to what politicians are actually doing, and not what they say they’re going to do. Being a politician hasn’t made her any less true to herself and she’s committed to listening and taking action. Ms. Tomilson believes that people who run for public office are running with the best of intentions. She claims that politicians are, at the end of the day, just trying their best to do what they’ve said they’ll do. She says that politics are about people and if someone is in it for another reason than that, they’ll lose their way. Ms. Tomilson says that being a politician has helped her realize just how many good people there are in her community and it also thickened her skin. She finished off her interview with a fairly memorable quote that inspired the title: “I’m not here to tread water. I’m here to make waves.”