Woman Runs Away From Her Parliamentary Position

Illustration for article titled Woman Runs Away From Her Parliamentary Position

A young member of parliament in Quebec has confounded her constituents by refusing to appear in public. Some even wonder if she's real.


According to The Star, twenty-seven-year-old Ruth Ellen Brosseau was elected MP for Berthier-Maskinongé, an area northeast of Montreal, on Monday. She was part of a controversial slate of New Democratic Party MP-elects, including several college students and one who's just nineteen. But Brosseau may be the weirdest of all, as she's been completely MIA since the election, making no appearances and giving no interviews. All her constituents have seen is her photo on a campaign handout. Asks one, "is she a real person?"

Perhaps Brosseau is in hiding because she's not qualified for her job. Apparently she can't speak French, the first language of 98% of her constituents. Also, she may not really have wanted the job — during the campaign, she reportedly took off on a trip to Vegas. The NDP says she will take office, but that she "simply didn't expect to be elected and has been overwhelmed." They also say she's taking French classes.

Brosseau's not doing a good job of representing a slate already under fire for including too many young and inexperienced MPs. And the cynic in me can't help but wonder if she'll come in for even more flak as a conventionally attractive blond woman. But ultimately, this really isn't about gender or age — after all, 27 is plenty old enough to know what being an MP entails. The real question is why a major political party would field a candidate who neither expected nor wanted to win.

NDP Shifts To Damage Control Over ‘Vegas' MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau [The Star]



The real question is why a major political party would field a candidate who neither expected nor wanted to win.

Some thoughts, as I sit in my office, a mere 10 minutes walk from Parliament Hill:

It's one of the glories of the first-past-the-post system where there's a number of parties. People have been running for the NDP (and other parties) in federal elections for years, with little expectation of winning. That Layton was able to command such a turn-around is highly unusual. Going into this campaign NO-ONE expected the NDP to do what they did on Monday night.

Plus, parachute candidates aren't unusual here. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don't.

As for the trip, the problem with the past election was that it was in danger of being called at any time. It was inevitable, but not determined, and Parliament was held in limbo for a long time, potentially screwing up the lives of those in office and those who were being encouraged to run for office.

Maybe she's prove us all wrong and do an excellent job. Maybe she won't. We'll just have to wait and see.