New Democratic Party candidate Ruth Ellen Brosseau, an assistant manager at a bar, defeated Bloc Quebecois Berthier-Maskinonge incumbent Member of Parliament Guy Andre. But who is she? Not a lot of people know, including voters.
On Monday, Canadian voters headed to the polls. Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives garnered a majority, Jack Layton’s New Democrats became the official Opposition party, which means a lot of fresh news faces are heading to the House of Commons.
But who are these now Members of Parliament? One young New Democrat has made the news across the country; Ruth Ellen Brosseau, a single mother from Gatineau, Quebec and assistant manager at Carleton University’s bar.
Digital Journal reported last week of certain federal candidates taking vacations during the election campaign. Brosseau was one of those candidates as she travelled to Las Vegas. NDP Leader Jack Layton blamed the Prime Minister for this incident, but there is more to Brosseau, or as some within the NDP have dubbed her “Vegas.”
According to the Globe and Mail, Brosseau came back from her Vegas vacation with just one week left until the election – she was not in her riding when she was declared the winner. There have also been reports that she hasn’t even set foot in the Berthier-Maskinonge riding and that she has poor French-speaking abilities.
The “parachute candidate” did not even grant any media interviews to local news outlets. “She was not ready to do a press conference, but she’s learning,” said NDP spokesperson Marc-Andre Viau. “She will be learning in the days to come to be more confident to talk to media and to be a public figure.”
Since her victory Monday, Brosseau still has yet to speak to the media, but her father, Marc, believes it’s an act of caution, reports CTV News. “There's so much bad publicity that's surrounded all of this, and there's so much misinformation. She wants to make sure that when it does come out, it'll come out properly.”
The National Post reports that Thomas Mulclair, a Quebec NDP MP, stated that he would take responsibility for the riding until Brosseau enhanced her French skills.
What else has Brosseau done? According to the NDP’s website, Brosseau is a “dedicated community activist and volunteer” who has rescued and rehabilitated “injured animals.” She has also spent much of her time “find[ing] homes for stray animals in her community.” “Vegas” earned a diploma in Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College in Kingston.
Brosseau was not answering telephone calls Tuesday and her voicemail box was full.
Brosseau defeatedGuy Andre by 10 points with 39.63 percent of the vote. She will now be earning an annual salary of $157,731 for the next four years.
According to CBC News, the paucity of NDP presence in ridings across the country has bothered some of their opponents, including Ottawa-Orleans Liberal candidate David Bertschi, who was defeated by Conservative candidate Royal Galipeau. “I never heard her [NDP federal candidate Martine Centaus], never saw her...the first time I heard her voice was last Friday.”