"We Wanted Change, Period"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 6 2011 9:03 AM

"We Wanted Change, Period"

I shouldn't say this until after I have sent in the bill for this South Carolina trip, but no story in politics right now is funnier than the saga of Ellen Brosseau, a 27-year-old bartender who was elected in the New Democratic Party's surge in this week's Canadian elections. She lives three hours away from the riding she won. She may not speak French. She went on vacation to Vegas during the campaign. Oh, yes: There is only one photo of her on the Internet.

This video explains the weirdness via a video with her father, who explains that she's going to talk to reporters at... some point.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

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Brosseau beat the incumbent Bloc Québécois candidate by nearly 5,000 votes. Most said they voted not for Brosseau, but for leader Jack Layton.

Brosseau didn’t once step foot in the riding. Didn’t even have campaign signs. Many didn’t know she could barely speak their language.

"I didn’t know," said daycare owner Francine Belhumeur, who added it wouldn’t have affected her choice. "We wanted change, period. We should give her a chance."

Jacinthe Brissette, mayor of the town of Lanoraie, said she found out about the French issue only on election day "by word of mouth."

Brissette said the idea of this "ghost MP" is "absurd. It’s beyond me."

"We’ve only seen her photo — is she a real person?" she laughed.

What did Brosseau's campaign consist of? No ads. No events. Just this website with this photo and text.

She is a dedicated community activist and volunteer. One of her passions is rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals. For many years Ruth Ellen has committed her time and energy to finding homes for stray animals in her community.

Ruth Ellen currently works as an assistant manager at a restaurant.

Ruth has a diploma in Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College in Kingston.

Remember the elderly New Hampshire man who lucked into a state legislature seat in last year's GOP wave, then resigned because he agreed with Hitler about some stuff? Yeah, this happens in other countries, too.
Also, how hard is some poli-sci nerd in this community kicking himself for not just registering himself as an NDP candidate?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.