Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Liberals, Media declare Class War on single mom

Two days ago, the Liberal Party had a near death experience.

The party which has always been either the government or the official opposition at the federal level were suddenly neither.

With their lowest percentage of the popular vote ever, suddenly the electoral train wreck which was Stéphane Dion now seems the very model of stability and growth.

Displaced by a surging New Democratic Party under Jack Layton, the Liberals have been handed their worst electoral humiliation in history.

Despite a 2.4 increase in voter turnout, the actual number of Liberal votes dropped by 850,010 - almost a 25 percent erosion.

Now, some parties might come away from such an experience feeling chastened.

Not the Liberals.

Like a bitter alcoholic who hasn't yet hit bottom, the Liberal Party and their media mouthpieces are railing about how it is somebody else's fault. It's those nasty Conservatives who criticized Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. It's those ungrateful New Democrats who insisted on trying to win seats. And, although never quite so clearly communicated, it's those stupid Quebec voters who elected unqualified MPs.

Now, the qualifications to be a Member of the Canadian Parliament are pretty simple. You must:
  • be a Canadian citizen

  • be 18 years of age or older

  • not be in jail

  • get more votes than the other candidates

Ruth Ellen Brosseau meets all of those requirements. She defeated Bloc Quebecois incumbent Guy André by nearly 6,000 votes, more than 10 percentage points. The Liberal candidate finished a distant third.

This offends Canadian Liberals at a number of levels - as does the fact that Ruth Ellen is one of almost 60 Quebec New Democrats who rode an unexpected electoral tide to victory on Monday night.

Several of those 60 victorious New Democrats might best be described as "accidental MPs." When the election was called, the New Democratic Party had high hopes of winning maybe five to seven seats in Quebec. In the entire 80 year history of the CCF-NDP, only two New Democrats had ever been elected to Parliament from Quebec - and only once had a New Democrat been successful during a general election.

But credibility in a Canadian election requires running a full slate of candidates. As a result, all parties have, from time to time, nominated "placeholder" candidates - "sacrifical lambs," or, as they are sometimes called in Quebec, "pylons." Placeholder candidates may or may not run a campaign. They virtually never win.

Except . . .

Every now and then, the unexpected happens. Every now and then, there is a surge for a party and they end up electing placeholder candidates - and when it happens, it usually happens in large numbers.

Such was the case last Monday. Of the nearly 60 New Democrat MPs elected in Quebec, at least a couple of dozen were never anything more than placeholder candidates.

Other parties have had this experience. Saskatchewan Conservatives may recall Joanne Zazalenchuk - the 18 year old gas station attendant who defeated Deputy Premier Roy Romanow in the Tory sweep of 1982. Zazalenchuk spent more than four years as a hardworking if obscure MLA before turning the seat back to Romanow in 1986. When the Créditistes unexpectedly swept rural Quebec in the early 60s, it is said that several of the surprised new MPs turned up at the Quebec National Assembly instead of the Canadian Parliament.

The Liberals, of course, want to make some hay about all of these "unqualified" MPs - and the mainstream media likes the meme. Several of the new MPs have been held up for varying degrees of ridicule.

But the Liberals and the media have singled out Ruth Ellen Brosseau for special attention. Indeed, they've declared class war.

Ruth Ellen Brosseau is a 27 year old single mother (earlier reports said 30-something). Until this week, she worked at a couple of modest paying jobs in the service industry, including as assistant manager of a campus bar in Ottawa. During the election campaign she never expected to win, Ruth Ellen went away on a week long Vegas vacation that had been booked in advance of the election call and which could not be rescheduled or refunded. She doesn't actually live in - or anywhere near - the constituency of Berthier - Maskinongé. She spent little if any time there prior to election night.

Now, none of this was a secret. Ruth Ellen had become the poster child of the NDP's placeholder candidates in the week prior to the election. Her Vegas vacation had been all over the national media. If a single voter in Berthier - Maskinongé was not aware prior to election day that their NDP candidate was a sacrifical lamb who hadn't campaigned and who had taken a holiday during the election, then they simply hadn't been paying attention.

But the voters of Berthier - Maskinongé, like nearly 43 percent of Quebec voters, liked the change that Jack Layton was offering. Fully 22,484 (39.63 percent) of them decided to cast their ballot for Ruth Ellen Brosseau, vacances ou non.

But according to the central Canadian elite that run both the Liberal Party and the national media, this is some sort of embarrassing scandal.

Oh, I grant you the story is absurd at a number of different levels. But that isn't the meme the Liberals and their media allies are offering up.

No. According to them, this "cocktail waitress" should not be a Member of Parliament. They have engaged in a relentless public assault on this woman for the past several days.

Now, let's look at the real situation here.

  • Ruth Ellen Brosseau is a 27 year old single mother.

  • Ruth Ellen Brosseau has worked very hard at modest paying jobs to support her family.

  • Ruth Ellen Brosseau put herself through school.

  • Ruth Ellen Brosseau cares enough about the democratic process to allow her name to go on the ballot in a supposedly hopeless riding because even the voters of Berthier - Maskinongé should have the opportunity to vote for an NDP candidate.

  • Ruth Ellen Brosseau clearly harbours no ambition to be a career politican.

So I ask my Liberal friends and their media mouthpieces, what exactly is it that disqualifies Ruth Ellen Brosseau as a Member of Parliament.

  • Is it that she is 27?

  • Is it that she is a woman?

  • Is it that she is a single mom?

  • Is it that she has worked in modest paying jobs in the service sector?

  • Is it that she put herself through school?

  • Is it that she cares about the democratic process?

  • Is it because she isn't looking to be a career politican?

Of course, it's entirely clear what the problem is.

Ruth Ellen Brosseau is the target of this sustained media assault because the idea of a working class woman as a Member of Parliament offends their bourgeois sensibilities.

I have no idea if Ruth Ellen Brosseau will be an effective Member of Parliament or not. God knows, there is an awful lot of dead wood stacked up on the backbenches of the two establishment parties. (Less so, perhaps, for the Liberals right now, since the electoral winnowing of last Monday means that most of the surviving Liberals are still there despite their party label.)

But right now, every sane and sensible Canadian should be cheering for Ruth Ellen Brosseau - a proud single mom who does not deserve this print and electronic lynching.

62 comments:

David said...

Hey Malcolm,

Great post and I agree completely. Ghandi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." You need to network your blog to draw more traffic to it and work against these stupid elitist memes about her that are going to be repeated against the NDP day in and out now that we're a threat to win. I.e. twitter*, facebook*, progressive bloggers, new democrats online, etc, etc.

*Assuming you want your identity out there since those sites are more so associated with real people than the last two.

Anonymous said...

Look at her Facebook page and you will find out what she said :
she don't give a *uck about this election and her only interest is fame.

The working class single mom mambo jumbo , don't excuse her to be an arrogant selfish bimbo who prefer to be in Las Vegas instead of being on the field.

keith nethery said...

I tend to agree with the thrust of your post Malcolm. There has been a long standing tact that says when you are wounded, point the fire somewhere else to lessen your need to deal with whatever it is that has caused the wound. In that sense, I would suggest it is much less Ruth Ellen and much more give us something to deflect this storm. Having spent time working in the media and having interaction with politicans since entering ministry, it is what the "system" will do to Ruth Ellen when she arrives in Ottawa that is much more troubling. I have known several rookie MP's who sprint to Ottawa to make a difference, only to be confronted with the reality that the system doesn't allow that.
The system says if you want something, you must give a piece or yourself in return. I fear some of these wide eyed "placeholder" winners, will find all to soon that Parliament and in fact our government isn't what they thought it might be.

wondering said...

Thank you!

Malcolm+ said...

Anonymous, look at "her" Facebook page and even the blindest bat can see that it is a spoof page set up by people who want to carry forward the same mysogynist, anti-worker meme.

If you'd have had the courage to use an actual name, I could easily go set up a politican FB page for you and include references to your well-known practise of biting the heads off of puppies and kittens - which would obviously prove that you were unfit to be an MP.

BobMacActual said...

Well, there is some question about forged signatures on her nomination papers. That would be a problem for anybody, not just a humble, noble, virtuous single mother.
And she is not the only NDP MP from QC that has been mentioned as spectacularly inexperienced.
And, going to Vegas at any time makes me wonder about her priorities.

Malcolm+ said...

100 signatures are required. In Berthier - Maskinongé, the NDP collected 128 signatures - as most campaigns will, in case some signatures are found ineligible on some technicality.

They collected most of them by going door to door. Both neighbours of the man making the complaint confirm that the NDP came to their house and asked them to sign (neighbours on one side did, on the other side did not). It is . . . suspicious . . . that the NDP would bother to forge two signatures when clearly they were having success collecting them this way. It's even more suspicious when the person complaining is forced to admit that it really does look like his signature.

If the Liberals (who were in no danger of winning the seat even before they imploded under the weight of their own arrogance) want to expend all that energy trying to find 29 invalid signatures, they are welcome to waste their time. They tried the same bogus tactic after they lost Herb Gray's old seat in a byelection. It didn't work then either.

Malcolm+ said...

Oh, and Vegas is a very affordable vacation destination with a wide range of possible activities.

skdadl said...

Great post, and thank you. Twitter has been awash in cheap snobbery from bitter Liberals for days. I could forgive the disappointment (for a time), but the condescension towards Canadians who fail to perceive the glory of the "natural governing party" is absurd and shameful. Canadians don't like pretension, and they couldn't figure out who the Liberals are. So far, I've seen no sign the Liberals are willing to learn that lesson.

Anonymous said...

Hundred percent in agreement. Arash Azizi

Anonymous said...

I gave money to both the Libs and NDP during this election to fight close battles. After this bit of petty revenge seeking from the LPC, I removed myself from their mailing list, and it will be a cold day before they see another dime from me again.

Hank in Delta said...

I can't speak for others, but my problem with her is not based on any of the reasons you cite. On the contrary, I generally do "cheer" when working class people choose to run and are chosen as representatives. Their voices are needed in Ottawa.

My problem here is that, out of respect for the local voters, no party should nominate a candidate who has zero connection to the riding (and may not have visited), does not speak the language of the constituents, and could not or would not even go through the motions of mounting a campaign. Out of respect for the local voters, no such person should put their hat in the ring.

An MP, at least in theory, is a representative of the local residents. It is an insult to that democratic tradition for a party, particularly a major party, to offer up candidates the likes of Ms. Brosseau.

I understand the logic behind 'placeholder' candidates. But if the party could not have found somebody local, or at least somebody who had some ties to the region, or at least a francophone, to run, they should have left the seat uncontested.

For those who knew of these concerns and voted for her anyway, that's their prerogative, but I think it's a shameful way to vote. Those who didn't know arguably should have, and shame on them for not being more informed voters.

Shame on the voters, shame on the party, shame on the candidate.

Malcolm+ said...

Anonymous 2 - The irony of the Liberals' conduct here is that there wasn't a snowball's chance of them winning the seat anyway.

Hank - Thank you for offering up the other half of your Liberal Party's messaging, which is that the voters of Berthier - Maskinongé are stupid for having voted as they did. None of these things were unknown to the voters. The Bloc candidate was harping constantly on Madam Brosseau's unsuitability in the last week of the campaign.

But for some reason the voters (who, whatever you Liberals think, actually have the right to decide) came to the conclusion that they would rather have an "unsuitable" New Democrat than an experienced Bloquiste or an obscure, Liberal.

At least the Bloc and the Conservatives have had the integrity to accept the verdit of the voters. Would that the Liberal Party could manage the same.

Gnome said...

You are the only one declaring Class War by bringing up the fact she is a young, single mother four times in order to claim the Liberals are bourgeois (she's in fact 27). The people in the riding can vote for who they want. The fact that she can't speak their language, she lives 300km away from the riding and has barely stepped foot there and she prefered to party on down in Vegas than try to win her seat means that most rational people would call their decision "questionable". The fact she doesn't want to be a career politician you make out to be a virtue: BUT SHE HAS BECOME A CAREER POLITICIAN. If I wanted to elect a sheriff, why would I choose someone who has no experience in law enforcement and has no desire to become a professional police-officer - oh, I forgot, that person is a single mother so I better not argue. Otherwise I'm bourgeois! P.S. Looks like the NDP rigged the nomination process - those horrid people saying their signatures were forged! "Ruth Ellen can eat cake!"

Gnome said...

P.S. I bet you don't print my comment.

Hank in Delta said...

Malcolm.

I can't help it if my views somehow accord with Liberal "messaging", but the Liberals are not "my" party. I have have voted Liberal in the past, but also NDP and Green.

More than once, I have made the choice to not support a local candidate because they were a parachute or otherwise not a credible candidate in my view, even though I would have liked to vote for the party. That's how I personally view my responsibility as a voter. I know not everybody votes the same way.

I don't say that the results in Berthier - Maskinongé are invalid. Assuming there is nothing to this nomination-paper allegation (and I don't think there is), of course everybody should accept the results. But that doesn't mean the wisdom of the choice, or the appropriateness of the nomination, can't be questioned.

I would I question the wisdom of the voters who chose a candidate based on how good he looked in a suit. I question the wisdom of the voters in Vancouver-Centre who keep electing Hedy Fry.

The voters had the right to vote how they did and for their own reasons, informed or not. But I don't have to agree with them.

Anonymous said...

"what exactly is it that disqualifies Ruth Ellen Brosseau as a Member of Parliament."

You want a simple answer? At least 2 signatures on her application form for party status have been found to be forged or acquired through fraudulent means. One of those signatures was supposedly signed by a person that thought they were signing a petition against animal cruelty. I certainly hope Elections Canada investigates all the signatures that she and other "placeholder" NPDer's got that allowed them to have their name on the voting ballot. If wrong doing is found, she should forfeit her seat imediatly.

Malcolm+ said...

Actually, Gnome, I published your comment because it shows off in tremendous clarity the inflated sense of Liberal elitism and entitlement.

As for your cowardly friend Anonymous 3, the forgery claim is already collapsing under the weight of its own absurdity. The man's neighbours on both sides have confirmed that they were approached and both signed the nomination papers entirely clear as to what they were signing. Curious that the NDP would have been upfront with the neighbours on either side but would have "forged" signatures from the house in the middle.

Of course, parties routinely collect more than the 100 necessary signatures in the event of any unintended irregularities. In this case, it was 129 signatures.

As I said above, if you Liberals want to waste your time looking for 29 people prepared to do your dirty work . . . let's just say I think you may be wasting a great deal of time.

Malcolm+ said...

There is conflicting information about whether one neighbour or both neighbours signed Madam Brosseau's nomination papers. It is clear, however, that both neighbours were entirely clear on what they were being asked to sign.

Malcolm+ said...

@Hank - your subsequent comment was caught by the spam filter and I have accidentally deleted it. Apologies for that. If you care to resubmit, I will happily post it.

I didn't finish reading it before I accidentally deleted it, however I do agree that there is a difference between questioning the wisdom of electing a candidate (and I agree with you on Hedy Fry) and treating the matter as some sort of electoral scandal.

Unfortunately, too much of the commentariat are quite happy to attack this woman - and to a degree that they are not attacking other accidental MPs like the assorted university students. It's pretty clear to me that the distinction is about class and nothing else.

dan said...

I think the biggest problem that people had was the fact that she didn't really campaign and some would see her going on vacation as an insult to the democratic process.Political mudslinging is nothing new, nor is this particularily unexpected.
Personally I hope she does a good job. She certainly has a big job ahead of her.

Anonymous said...

"As for your cowardly friend Anonymous 3"

Petty words from a blogger. You know that old saying about assuming things? ;) Fyi, I don't have a Google account to use to sign in with. And just in case you were wondering, I voted for Jack, so of all the peopel here I would be the last person to want to "stain" his party.

And in the future, try and gets your points straight. First you say 128, now it's 129. By tomorrow it will be in the mid to high 130's right? :rolleyes:

Either way it doesn't matter how many signatures they got signed. The main point here is that there was a discrepancy in some of the signatures that has already been confirmed by multiply media sources. Elections Canada should investigate and see how many were actually obtained truthfully and not under false means (like telling the signer that they are signing a petition that had nothing to do with the NPD party as one news media outlet has already reported).

Let Elections Canada get to the bottom of this stuff, and we'll go on from there.

Just some guy. said...

A couple of thoughts here.

The whole thing is very over blown. The media will always have their way with human interest stories. I guess what is troubling about this is that we've got no information whatsoever about this person, yet everyone is making value judgements about her. They're based on one photo, a blurb on the NDP site and that she was in Vegas during the election period.

Now before you get all holier-than-thou, maybe you should provide a little back up to your own value judgements. Specifically, of her being hard working, she put herself through school, she cares about the democratic process or that she harbours no ambition to be a career politican. These are just as unsubstantiated as the bimbo, unqualified and useless claims you're railing against.

We know nothing about this MP, and it might be a good idea for the NDP powers-that-be to remove the muzzle, or to encourage her to be a little less camera shy.

Anonymous said...

More stuff is now coming to light. Updated today.

"Two days after the election allegations were made by both the defeated Liberal and Conservative candidates about irregularities on Brosseau's nomination paperwork.

Four residents in Trois-Rivières, who were asked by The Globe and Mail, said they didn't remember signing the document, while another resident says he was told it was a Heart and Stroke Foundation petition and that his wife's signature was forged after reviewing the document at a local Elections Canada office.

The document also listed at least five people who didn't reside in the riding. The local Liberal and Conservative associations have called for a by-election to be called"

Link: Names not in the riding.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/vacationing-ndp-candidate-accused-of-falsifying-nomination-papers/article2009898/

So what do you have to say now about your previous "collapsing under the weight of its own absurdity." comment?

So lets see, 4+5=9. If we take the 129 voters signatures (you stated earlier), that means just over 11% of the signatures are now in question.

Anonymous said...

Figures, he that rules the blog, decides the comments that get posted.

I'll just repost the link to the most recent Globe and Mail post about this "fraud". Let your blog readers come to their own conclusions.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/vacationing-ndp-candidate-accused-of-falsifying-nomination-papers/article2009898/

Anonymous said...

I guess a "priest of God" didn't like the proof I sent him. That's fine.

Anonymous said...

What strikes me most about this blog post are two things: 1) that you name the Liberals and the media as one in the same and 2) that all of your replies to comments label anyone who disagrees with you as a Liberal - not only that, but you make it clear that the term Liberal is indistinguishable from some sort of whining elitist, which is a pretty disingenuous painting everyone with the same brush. I disagree with you - does that make me a Liberal? Furthermore, I think you do your position as a clergyman and all your congregants a disservice by being unable to disentangle your professional office from your political opinions. If you want to show your shockingly accusatory, bigoted political bias so publicly, you should be doing under your own name MINUS your religious title. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's, which also means don't use your position as God's representative to influence people with your political views. If you don't understand how wrong that is, I pray for the poor souls in your church who look to you for spiritual guidance, and I expect God does not look upon your actions with much favour.

Malcolm+ said...

It's always fun to see when the right wingers get their ox gored. My how they squeal.

@Dan - Absolutely, this is overblown. I'm not sure a placeholder candidate not campaigning is quite the insult to democracy its being made out to be. Incumbents hiding from public meetings is, frankly, a more significant insult.

@Anonynous 4 (aka 3, 5 and 6) - I said 128. Said it twice. Mistyped it once. However you cut it, it's still 29 signatures that would need to be rejected. And so far, none of the accusations (all >gasp< four of them) are standing up. Odd, as I note, that on neighbours on both sides got it but that the guy between them was so confused. The five outside of the riding is not an unusual mistake to happen - which is why campaigns always get more than the minimum necessary.

BTW, I don't sit around all day just looking to see what comments get generated. I do have alife - something I suggest you look into. As a result, there is sometimes a delay before comments get moderated.

Howe'er it is, I'm obviously cutting close to home to have the right wing rage machine so charged up over an obscure little blog.

Anonymous said...

Single moms should be exempt from criticism then.

GoatmealCrisp said...

Excellent points, all. The tone taken by the media and this bitter, rejected Liberal riding association matches the reductive tone of the Liberal/Conservative campaigns over the past month. Instead of encouraging democratic involvement of individuals of different age, sex and class demographics, they're belittling these people for daring to take part in the process and win. Can't remember who it was who said this and if I could remember I'd gladly give them credit, but for most of this campaign we were asking why the youth aren't voting. Now we see all sorts of idealistic young students elected to the House and what do we do? We mock and browbeat them like they're children in need of a spanking. I for one applaud their willingness to carry their party's banner into a seemingly unwinnable fight, and view their victory as reward for their political courage. I'd rather have a bunch of new MPs who are young and dedicated than old, cynical career politicians working the system for their gain. I predict some of these kids fail as is normal across the political landscape, but others bring their youthful energy to Ottawa and become some of the best constituency politicians in the country.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Look at her Facebook page and you will find out what she said :"

The facebook page is a fake, created by the same asshats perpetuating this disgraceful slander.

Just some guy. said...

Hi Malcolm,

I hope I wasn't being included in the right wing rage machine group. I came accross your blog when searching for some information about this person - any information - that might back up some of the claims I've been seeing on this here internet thing. She's being held out as a mockery of our democracy. I've been unable to find out anything about her. I can't even tell if she has arms and legs. She could be an amputee and we'd not know. I think the people taking a run at her are wrong, although I understand that the losing candidates in the riding might want to have elections canada look at the nomination papers issue.

The problem with the whole issue is that this MP is now at the centre of partisan bickering, with one side saying "mockery, selfish, opportunist" and the other saying "hard working, I admire her spunk, cares about democracy."

We can not back up any of these claims until we hear from her.
(I read the I like her spunk bit on another blog.
and I'm fairly confident she has arms and legs).

Yvonne Parsons said...

first of all I am non-partisan so please do not call me a liberal or anything else for saying what I am about to say. I've read what you have posted and I agree that as a single mom, a hard worker and so on she deserves this. But, as an english speaking canddate in a 80+% french riding and as someone who has never lived nor spend much time in the riding how can she even have a concept of what her riding needs? She doesn't know the people nor the issues. I've got nothing at all against the woman but shouldn't my MP speak my language and live near me?

Malcolm+ said...

@Anonymous whichever - Single moms don't need to be exempt from criticism. They (and evveryone else) should be exempt from bullying, which is what this has turned into.

@Yvonne - If you have issues with who they chose to vote for, take it up with the good people of Berthier - Maskinongé. They knew she didn't live there. They knew she'd been away on holidays. They even knew her French was pretty poor. Still, more than 22,000 of them chose to vote for her because they wanted to have an NDP MP.

@Anonynmous the render - You may want to go read the disclaimer on the blog. I usually post on church related issues moreso than secular politics. But I have to tell you, I don't take people very seriously when they say that clergy shouldn't talk about politics. What they usually (ie, almost always) mean is that clergy should only speak about politics if they agree with that person's views.

@Just some guy - You are right that this has become a partisan peeing match. My issue here is the over the top bullying we've seen from certain quarters.

Again, it's amazing how much traffic one can generate by by goring a few right wing oxes.

Dave said...

People voted for Jack Layton. I appreciate the sentiment (though unfortunate that this is what Canadian "democracy" has become), but she's not qualified for the job and I pay her salary. I'd vote for anyone regardless of background and political persuasion if they clearly represented my riding and my country. To boot, she has been shuffled off and hidden by her own party. It's a rough political climate, and if you can't handle the heat... well... bonne chance, Hon. Min. Brosseau.

Malcolm+ said...

With respect, Dave, you are mistaken.

* She is a Canadian citizen.
* She is over 18 years of age.
* She isn't in jail.
* She got more votes than any of the other candidates - by quite a large margin as it happens.

You are certainly free to disagree with the voters of Berthier - Maskinongé, but it was their decision, not yours.

the new objective said...

Just wanted to point out that her name is spelled "Brosseau", that she is 27, not "thirty-something," and, in response to a cowardly anonymous reply regarding her FB page saying she "doesn't give a fuck," that that is a fan "page" made for her, not her actual fb page, so I suspect that line was a humorous add in by the makers of the page.

Adam Fulsom said...

How much skill and knowledge does it really take to be an MP? I've met a number of MP's, and many of the backbenchers are not exactly shining stars of wisdom...come on, most of them just sit in the house once in a while and follow their leaders. Children in grade one can do that. Of course, that being the case, they are way overpaid.

Malcolm+ said...

@new objective - I'll go back and correct the name - curious that I got it right about half the time and wrong half the time. I'll also correct the age. Original reports described her as 30 something. I agree with the rest of your points.

@Adam - the "worth" of MPs is a dubious thing. Effective MPs who work hard and see to their casebook and get to know their issues are worth every bit of the parliamentary stipend. It's unfortunate not all MPs even aspire to that. Certainly the NDP's "accidental MPs" will have a steep learning curve to get there. Hopefully the treatment of Madam Brosseau will be a salutory lesson for all of them.

Gnome said...

@GoatMealCrisp, "I'd rather have a bunch of new MPs who are young and dedicated than old, cynical career politicians" - that's hilarious, considering she went to Las Vegas instead of campaigning.
People voted for the NDP, not her - the party screwed the riding by putting in an unqualified, unprofessional candidate.

GoatmealCrisp said...

So other than the couple claiming to have not signed a petition, 2 further residents claimed to have been under the impression that they were signing a healthcare petition. Here's a thought - maybe the canvassers were explaining the NDP's platform which includes hiring more doctors and the residents just misunderstood what it was? That's a ton more logical than to suggest a party that got 5,000 votes in 2008 had to resort to trickery to get their candidate on the ballot. So take the sour grapes couple, the 2 who misunderstood and the 4 or so who may not live in the riding. That leaves 120 valid signatures. Candidate valid, election over.

janfromthebruce said...

Elections Canada rules overnight-sensation NDP candidate valid

HillTimes Online

http://www.hilltimes.com/dailyupdate/view/elections_canada_rules_overnightsensation_ndp_candidate_valid_05-05-2011

PARLIAMENT HILL—Elections Canada has ruled the election of an overnight-sensation NDP candidate east of Montreal is valid, and the Conservative candidate who wants it overturned will have to go to court if she wants to challenge it.

I get by with a little help from my friends!

Malcolm+ said...

Gnome, it must be very sad for you to see your once proud party laid low. But that's still no excuse to bully a young woman who has done nothing wrong.

Judy said...

I believe this defamation of a young woman is pointless and absurd....and the people did vote for her, of their own free will. Perhaps more valuable attention could be paid to actually running the country, establishing jobs, and working on the fiscal situation. Maybe she will turn into a shining star, who knows?

Don Hansen said...

Two things seem to have people's goat.

First, she did not live in her riding. Well, that is nothing new. That has happened and will continue to happen for years. Cretien ran in Beausejour, New Brunswick after he was elected leader of the Liberals. I know it is common for a sitting MP to surrender his or her seat in order to let their leader run in a by-election, but I could not help but think at the time why he would choose a riding from NB instead of one from his native Quebec. Oh well, if Jean Cretien can live so far away from the riding he represented then so can anyone else.

Second, she went to Vegas during part of the election. Well, that obviously was not an issue for the 20,000 people who voted for her. It never mattered to the people of Manitoba either when in 1870; the person they elected to the House of Commons was hiding out in Montana the entire time avoiding a warrant on the charge of murder; that person being Louis Riel.

The question about possible forged documents... Elections Canada declared her election legit so go suck on lemons you sore losers.

Nevertheless, most importantly Malcolm, you hit the nail on the head. Criticism is one thing but the bullying she is receiving... now that is just plain nasty. However she is in good company. Grace McInnis, I am sure went through even worse than what Madam Brosseau will receive.

Brent said...

Short memory you have there Malcolm. Remember the outcry when that gas station attendant beat Romanow in his own provincial riding in 81? Oh, the NDP hand-wringing that went on then. And because it was 81, there was even more sexism apparent.

But that doesn't count apparently, because Joanne Zazalenchuk was also a Conservative.

(note: I'm a progressive who hovers on the boundaries of the left wing liberals or the the right wing NDP)

Schmutzie said...

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Deirdre said...

Liberals are entitled to rule us. They do not need to supply a reason. If voters rebel against Liberal entitlement, Liberals will publicly bully and humiliate a symbol of that democratic spirit. To the media elite, history is the story of power struggles within of they elites that they eat, drink and sleep with. They will not eat, drink and sleep so well with those elites gone and therefore they, too will bully and humiliate a symbol of that democratic spirit.

Malcolm+ said...

@Brent - I do recall a lot of criticism that Joanne Zazalenchuk was less qualified that Roy Romanow - a perfectly defensible value judgement. I recall some criticism of her that I would agree was inappropriate and sexist. I don't recall the kind of sustained assault we've seen over the past week, nor anyone claiming that she had no legitimacy as an MLA. And I do recall NDP figures speaking out against (at least some of) the over the top and sexist criticisms.

Of course, we didn't have the interweb to collate all the comments back in those days.

@Schmutzie - tx

@Deirdre - ;-)

Anonymous said...

I have a question to all you know everythings out there, what is it exactly that you think makes a candidate expierienced or not? cause this seems to be the real question. Honestly all the people who are complaining about the inexperienced candidates that were selected in all honesty they are not any less expierenced for the most part then the other party candidates that they ran against. Do you think every liberal and conservative candidate has spent time in government? the simple answer is damn no. The ndp are a fully fledged party and anyone who comes into politics through the ndp will end up being for the most part just as expierenced as the other party candidates because they have gained the experience of the years in working with the party on actual parlimentary politics.

Anonymous said...

My understanding us that it was the Bloc candidate who raised questions about the validity if her nomination, not the "liberal" media. A second issue that I take with your piece is the notion that a united "liberal" media is orchestrating a sustained effort to blame the Luberals' election disaster on Conservative attack ads. This strikes me as false for two reasons. One, no major newspaper endorsed the Liberals (one endorsed the NDP) and two, almost all the commentary in the media scoffs at the notion floated by Liberal talking heads that the Liberals failed because of unscrupulous Tory attack ads. Which is to say the media has taken a position exactly contrary to what you claim is the position they have taken. I appreciate a good polemic, but proclaiming the opposite of what is really occurring is extraordinarily disingenuous and strips you of any credibility. Indeed, even Liberal stalwarts are publically acknowledging that they failed badly because they lost touch with the electorate. Read Simpson's columns on the matter. If he isn't a liberal ally, I don't know who is. Finally, the issue of Tory stack ads, while only tangential to the continued decline of Liberal fortunes, is not irrelevant. The Tories are formidable fund raisers. When they start a vicious attack on Jack months and months before the next election - they will, they can afford to - tell me then that it isn't devastating. The NDP and it's stalwarts need to focus on issues. Your column and it's hysterical obsession with the evil Liberals misses the point that moat of the electorate doesn't go for the political hate-ons that hard core types like you engage in. They see the foam flecked fulminations of NDP attack dogs against Liberals - more pointed in some respects than attacks against Conservatives - and they get turned off. Talk of class warfare - especially when it is supported by out and out falsehoods - will only rally the most zealous partisans. Everyone else will think it's just silly. The NDP doesn't need to be seen as silly. Issues. Issues. Issues.

Malcolm+ said...

@Anonymous the second last - Good Point. Very few people first elected to Parliament have experience as Members of Parliament - thougb a few have transferrable skills from other elected offices. But at the end of the day, like any other job, at some point they started as people with no direct experience.

@Anonymous that most recent - You are confusing a number of things, I think. I don't think I accused the media in sharing in every bit of Liberal fingerpointing, but much of the media has happily joined in this pile-up on Madam Brosseau.

I have not sen a single report suggesting that the former BQ MP has been involved in any of the games regarding the nomination forms. He (unlike the Liberal candidate) seems to have grasped Michael Ignatieff's observation that the only thing people respect less than a loser is a sore loser.

I do think that double standards based on sex and class are real issues - and this case is a perfect example of a person being treated unfairly based on sex and (especially) class - even as compared to the other NDP accidental MPs.

Finally, I'd love nothing more than to deal with more substantive issues. As, apparently, would intelligent Tories like Geoff Norquay. So lets. Lets see an end to the disgraceful treatment of this woman whose only sin was allowing her name to be placed on a ballot.

Anonymous said...

We are unable to get a government job if we are not fluent in French, yet Ruth can be elected in a French riding and not be fluent in French!
My other concern is her lack of experieince...no schooling with regards to politics at all. Advertising is a far cry from politics and so is managing a pub. She is there to stay so lets see what she is capable of...

Malcolm+ said...

The last thing in the world I would EVER want to see is a House of Commons full of nothing but those schooled in political science. Strikes me that Conservatives in particular should be pleased to see an MP who has been involved in managing a business.

As to her ability to speak French, I can think of at least a few current and recent politicians who seemed to speak neither official language. Yes, it is more than a trifle odd to have an MP from a francophone riding with only limited French. But then, I didn't elect her.

scorned said...

Well put. Our MP's should be a true cross section of society, not just monied interests, and those with a perverbial axe to grind. This new MP has gone from working two jobs, and likely struggling, to making good money, at a vitally important job. Could it be that a working person actually got a break?

Bravo to Ruth Ellen....she will do just fine!

Chris Lepock said...

"Ruth Ellen Brosseau is the target of this sustained media assault because the idea of a working class woman as a Member of Parliament offends their bourgeois sensibilities."

I'm afraid that's not true at all. In addition to voting the way the caucus tells her, Brosseau has a wide range of responsibilities to her constituents. Most of these involve helping them surmount Ottawa bureaucracy, but it's nonetheless an important service.

The problem is that Brosseau's shown no interest in performing any services for her constituents. How could she do anything to help them? She doesn't live there and doesn't speak the language.

Anonymous said...

It's incredibly difficult to get facebook to remove bogus pages. Identity theft on facebook is rife. For example, it took a very large number of reports to facebook for a bogus page for Swedish musician Dan Swano to be removed. I have no doubt that there a ton of fakes out there.

BTW, I agree with this article 100%. Class warfare indeed

Malcolm+ said...

@Chris - with respect, you're making it up. You have no idea what her level of commitment is, and you are drawing all sorts of inferences that simply are unsustainable.

What we have is a young, working class single mother who has been treated no better than a criminal for the vile sin of agreeing to be her party's sacrifical lamb in what was believed to be an unwinnable constituency. For this scandalous act (and for the ill fortune of winning) she has been subjected to a full on media assault.

In the context, it is hardly surprising that she has retreated from the bright lights to steel herself for what lies ahead. She has now issued one public statement, granted one media interview and participated in one mass communication with her constituents. She has committed to improve her facility in French and to do her best to represent the people of Berthier - Maskinongé, and to bring to Ottawa the perspective of ordinary families like hers and theirs.

The New Democratic Party is working with all the new caucus members to hire Parliamentary and constituency staff. In light of events, I expect there will be a particular effort to ensure that the offices of the Honourable Member for Berthier - Maskinongé will be particularly well staffed.

This young woman did not deserve the hate-mongering race-baiting and misogyny to which she has been subjected.

Malcolm+ said...

That was, of course, supposed to be "class-baiting" rather than "race-baiting."

Fr Levi said...

Hi Malcolm,

I 'tuned' in to get your take on the Church of Ireland vote to 'subscribe' to the Covenant and found this instead. Wow! Hadn't heard anything about this on this side of the pond ... well done for sticking up for this woman. The bottom line is that she was elected. Her opponents don't have to like it, but their vindictive attacks reflect on them, not her.

And to the person who thinks that a priest shouldn't comment on politics, might I point out that a collar isn't a gag?

Aaron said...

You make valid points, but I must call one out.

"But the voters of Berthier - Maskinongé, like nearly 43 percent of Quebec voters, liked the change that Jack Layton was offering."

That statement is incorrect. The voters of Quebec did not elect 59 pylons because they liked NDP policies. It was much more a protest against the established parties and the NDP became the benefactor of the anti-establishment vote. This swell of support will not likely be repeated in the next federal election.

Malcolm+ said...

Well Aaron ,they did choose the Orange Cruch over the Libervablocs on offer. We shall see if the NDP are able to consolidate in four years time - but it is foolish to write off the possibility so far in advance.