My name is Shelby Bertrand and I am honoured to be running in Ottawa Centre with the Green Party for our upcoming provincial election. I moved here seven years ago and fell in love with the vibrancy and diversity. This community helped me through some very hard years of my life. At 21 years old I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I spent a lot of time in the hospital, had to say “no” far more than “yes”, had to slow down my schooling, quit sports, and learned just how far-reaching the effects are of a physical illness in someone’s life. I can now look back and call this a good thing as I developed a keen awareness for the invisible struggles of others.
The people of Ottawa Centre have told me they vote Green because they are tired of the same old tug-of-war between bigger parties. They know the Green Party would put people before power games and act.
During four of these years I also worked at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, processing cases of sexual abuse at residential schools. It was hard, unsettling work. I was shown a gritty, close-up view of intergenerational trauma, the shape it takes in an individual, and the ripple effect it has on families. The exposure to individual stories motivated me to learn as much as I could and look for whatever ways, as a settler, I could help. In the happier, stronger, years of my master’s degree at the University of Ottawa, I discovered political avenues to take action on issues dear to my heart.