Ruth Ellen Brousseau enters her second term:
Today, Ms. Brosseau is the NDP agriculture critic – her riding has dairy and chicken farms – and vice-chair of caucus. She is bilingual, and a sought-after speaker on political organization.
Ms. Brosseau says she learned how to be an MP from Thomas Mulcair, who also represents a Quebec riding. She met with Mr. Mulcair, then the deputy leader, immediately after the 2011 election and he introduced her to mayors and other officials in her riding. She also studied French, and her first question in the Commons was in French.
She believes she has finally shaken off that demeaning nickname. “The girl from Vegas; the bartender; the anglophone in a francophone riding – but [now] she does speak really good French and she knows her issues. I think we are past that.”
Last October, she was among only 16 New Democrat MPs in Quebec to be re-elected – and she got more votes than in 2011.
I try to avoid saying nice things about an NDPer as a matter of principle. I'll make an exception in the case of Ms Brosseau. Having been handed a very lucky break she made the most of it. The story is a fascinating example of how many talented and intelligent people live in obscurity until a twist of fate pushes them onto another path. Brousseau was in her mid-twenties at the time of her election, working as a bar manager and struggling to survive as a single mother. There are many educated and accomplished people who spend the whole of their adults lives striving for political office, only to fail miserably upon attaining their goal. They have been bested by a woman who had none of their advantages. Luck plays a greater role in success than many people care to imagine.