Editor's Note: OrilliaMatters will profile the Simcoe North candidates seeking your vote in the June 2 provincial election. Today, we feature Green party candidate Krystal Brooks.
After representing the Green party in last year’s federal election, Orillia's Krystal Brooks is back in the race in Simcoe North as a candidate in the provincial election.
“I am running because people feel disenfranchised,” she said. “They feel unseen, unheard, and they need somebody there who is willing to listen to them and help them through these really hard and relevant issues.”
The 29-year-old, who was grew up in Rama and attended Park Street Collegiate Institute, says her main goal in the provincial election is to be a voice calling for the federal intervention to protect the region’s Alliston Aquifer groundwater.
“That’s the world’s purest water,” she said. “That water is being used to wash gravel that we don’t need to extract. We are already extracting more gravel in this province than we actually consume.”
Running in the federal election taught Brooks many lessons, and she hopes to apply them to her current campaign.
“In the last election, I spent so much time memorizing what I thought I needed to say and should say to constituents,” she said. “This election, I haven’t read from cue cards for a speech. I glance at pre-submitted questions and I don’t bother writing down answers.”
Brooks says people don’t need to hear a canned answer, or a political answer; she believes speaking to people in a natural way is a better strategy.
“I will be speaking from the heart,” she said.
Brooks says she has met most of the candidates she is running against and feels there is a good group of people seeking election.
“I think what is going to shine is, here in Simcoe North, we have an NDP candidate who is a breast cancer survivor and a mental health advocate,” she said. “We have a Liberal candidate who is also a survivor of the child welfare system and has experienced homelessness.”
Brooks comes from a background of suffering from mental health issues and addiction, and has been unfortunate when it comes to finding permanent housing.
“I think lived experience is so valuable,” she said. “Simcoe North has a lot of lived experience that they have to represent them and their needs right now, which is so incredible.”
Brooks feels she is different from a typical politician because she wants to earn her votes.
“You deserve a candidate willing to earn your vote and not just feed you stock answers and tell you all the pretty things that you want to hear,” she said. “People deserve honesty, respect, care and compassion. Those are things that I am capable of, and many politicians are not.”
The Green party is where Brooks says she fits as a politician because of its commitment to ecological wisdom and its willingness to advocate for Indigenous representation.
“The Green Party of Canada took a step forward by approving my nomination in the last election,” she said. “They did something that has not really been done by any other party by overlooking my controversial past, lack of education and work experience. They honoured and valued my lived experience.”
She said that belief was renewed in recent days when the party's leader, Mike Schreiner, came to Orillia to stand behind her and denounce those who defaced signs on the candidate's Orillia lawn. (Click here to read more about that).
Desite that incident, Brooks is feeling good about the campaign. However, she has seen the early projections and is being realistic about her chances of being elected as the next MPP of Simcoe North.
“My definition of winning is slightly different than everyone else’s version,” she said. “My version of winning looks like the last election, when I received messages from women and people willing to share their stories with me and willing to trust me with their journey.”
Brooks says she feels as if she won in 100 different ways in the federal election. Her only expectation this time is to be able to advocate for those who need a voice.
“Whatever the result of this is, and whoever it is in that seat at the end of the election, I hope they carry on the fight with the water and the wetlands affected by sprawl,” she said.