Rookie NDP MP-elect accused of falsifying nomination papers
by Sarah Boesveld and Sarah-Taissir Bencharif
May 4, 2011
Two days after her surprise win in the Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinongé, NDP rookie Ruth Ellen Brosseau and her team are being accused of falsifying her nomination papers.
Liberal candidate Francine Gaudet, who came in a distant third after the Vegas-vacationing Ms. Brosseau scooped the riding by almost 6,000 votes, says two residents whose signatures appear on the nomination form deny signing anything that pledged their support for Ms. Brosseau.
Trois-Rivières resident René Young and his wife saw their names on the candidacy form but do not remember signing them, Ms. Gaudet said.
NDP party spokesperson Karl Bélanger said the allegations are “not true.”
“The signatures were collected legitimately by our campaign workers going door to door,” he said. The signatures — 100 are required for a legitimate run at office according to Elections Canada rules — were approved by the election’s returning officer, he added.
“Madame Brosseau is thankful to the people of Berthier-Maskinongé for supporting her and helping her get elected. All the signatures were collected legitimately and if some people don’t remember signing it, well, that will be for them to explain.”
Ms. Brosseau has been a controversial candidate ever since the media learned she spent part of the April’s campaign on vacation in Las Vegas. The single mother and, until recently, assistant manager of Oliver’s Pub on the Carleton University campus in Ottawa, has very poor French skills, the NDP admits. A local radio station interviewed Ms. Brosseau during the campaign (her only interview) but did not air it because she could not be understood in French.
Ms. Brosseau lives in Gatineau, Que., a long drive away from her riding. It is unclear whether she’s actually visited Berthier-Maskinongé.
Despite the NDP’s denial of any falsifications on the nomination forms, Ms. Gaudet said she will ask Elections Canada to investigate.
“We’ve informed our party’s legal advisors about this situation and we’ll see in the next hours what our next actions will be, based on Elections Canada’s response,” Ms. Gaudet said in French.
Elections Canada records show Ms. Brosseau was not originally chosen to run as the NDP candidate in the riding — Julie Demers won the nomination in Berthier-Maskinongé, but was moved to the riding of Bourassa where she ultimately lost against Liberal Denis Coderre.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Posted by Brent Fullard at 4:45 PM