Las Vegas-vacationing anglophone Quebec MP gets spoofed on Facebook page

Marc Weisblott
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew

The last thing anyone expected in the aftermath of what was dubbed "Canada's first social media election" was that one of the most talked-about winners wouldn't have her own Web presence.

So, somebody has stepped up to create a Facebook page for new Berthier-Maskinongé MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau.

A few of those who joined the group assumed it was the winning NDP candidate's actual profile, and left messages of congratulation, while others were obviously entertained by the photo gallery of telephone poles possibly intended to represent the typical sights of the rural riding.

(But, in fact, they were a reference to Brosseau being a "poteau," or post, a Quebecois term for candidates who are on the ballot to represent a party with no expectation of victory.)

Another gallery depicted the sights of Las Vegas, where Brosseau spent a week during the campaign, just as her party started to surge in the polls.

The assistant manager at Oliver's Pub at Carleton University became even more of an enigma once it was revealed she didn't know much of the French language primarily spoken by her constituents.

Furthermore, doubt was cast as to whether the Gatineau, Que. resident had ever visited the riding, which incorporates the western edge of Trois-Rivieres, and the town of Louiseville.

Photos posted to the Facebook page have depicted Brosseau in the wardrobe of "Where's Waldo?" and a "Wanted Dead or Alive" poster with the word "dead" crossed out, along with the offer of an MP's annual salary, $157,731.

"Nice," responded the pseudo-Brosseau. "Though you should have made it clear that I'm the one getting the reward if someone finds me!"

NDP Leader Jack Layton, however, defended his unlikely new Commons colleague.

"I know Madame Brosseau is going to work very hard," he said Tuesday. "And, look,I respect the decisions of the people of Quebec. They have chosen these people to be their representatives. And we should all respect that. I certainly do."

Brosseau, reportedly a 27-year-old single mother, has nonetheless drawn criticism from sources unamused by her election amidst a crop of other NDP newbies.

La Presse columnist Isabelle Hachey attempted to reach the MP by phone and was advised to please leave a message, obviously in English.

"The voice is fragile," wrote Hachey. "The message is terse. Soon, the mailbox is full."

A post-election newscast on TVA Trois-Riveres featured a Berthier-Maskinongé resident whose name was on Brosseau's nomination papers, among 99 others who live in the riding, yet the man claimed he never actually signed it.

So, until the new MP becomes confident enough to meet the press, the speculation about her qualifications will persist.

Meanwhile, the Facebook page can ask questions on Brosseau's behalf: "Hey guys, not sure if they're going to make me move to Louiseville or not. But just in case I get bored out there, any good casino around there? Vegas is kind of far . . . "

(Facebook Screen Shot Photo)