• Illustration: Micaela Dawn/Can Geo

As an MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands off Vancouver Island, it is hard not to fall constantly in love with the breathtaking views I wake up to. But my heart is on the East Coast. For me, Margaree Harbour in Cape Breton, N.S., is like a magnet — it pulls me in and doesn’t let me go. Though I wasn’t born there, it’s the place that feels most like home.

The entire island is breathtaking, but the beach on Margaree Harbour is especially beautiful. It is almost always deserted, which makes it a place of true solace, healing, renewal and joy. My daughter and I agree there’s something about the Atlantic Ocean that makes the air feel saltier and more energized, feeding my soul in a way that nowhere else does. I’ve spent countless hours on that beach, whether it be walking my dog or getting together with my friends and family to play music around a campfire.

I moved to Cape Breton Island in my teens — it’s where my parents passed away and my brother and sister-in-law still live, so there is a nostalgia for the time spent there throughout my life. I go to Margaree Harbour at least once a year, which really envelops the saying “You can take the girl out of Cape Breton, but you can’t take Cape Breton out of the girl.”

There are talks about drilling a deepwater oil well in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which includes Margaree Harbour. This could do incalculable damage. I am very committed to protecting every part of Canada, but I feel like I have a personal relationship and responsibility to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence and all the coastlines along Cape Breton.

— As told to Samantha Pope