YAMACHICHE, Que. — Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Sunday looked to one of his party's former success stories to give his Quebec campaign a boost as he hopes to revive his party's fortunes in the province.
Singh campaigned in Yamachiche, Que. alongside Ruth Ellen Brosseau, who became a symbol of the so-called "orange wave" that swept the party to 59 seats in the province in 2011 when she was elected as a paper candidate in the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé.
Brosseau was criticized at the time for her lack of French-language skills, connection to the riding and the fact that she spent part of the campaign in Las Vegas, but later rose through party ranks to become the NDP's House Leader and agriculture critic.
She was re-elected in 2015 but lost her seat to the Bloc Quebeçois' Yves Perron in 2019 in a disastrous result that saw the party lose all but one seat in Quebec.
While he's facing an uphill climb in the province, Singh pointed to Brosseau's past success as a sign that fortunes can shift.
"Things change quickly in a campaign," said Singh, who drew a laugh when he said he hopes to win every seat in the province this time around.
The NDP leader also refused to speculate on whether he'd support either the Conservatives or Liberals in a minority scenario, saying its his goal to win the election and become prime minister.
"I'm in this election to win it, so I don’t accept defeat," he said. "I want to become the next prime minister."
Brosseau also expressed optimism as she reminded the crowd that her story is proof that anything can happen.
"When I decided to jump in as a candidate, I was a paper candidate because I couldn't campaign," the 37-year-old said. "I worked full time, I was a single mother. Things change really quickly."
On Sunday, Brosseau appeared relaxed in front of the microphone as she rattled off what she saw as the priorities for her mostly-rural riding: river protection, erosion, infrastructure, wastewater treatment, high-speed Internet, and agricultural self-sufficiency.
At one point she stumbled over her words and laughed, apologizing that she's no longer used to speaking English.
Brosseau said she feels voters are frustrated with previous Liberal and Conservative governments and are ready for a change this time around.
"I'm really hoping that people are open and are going to be supporting us," she said.
"I have an amazing feeling that this is going to be different this time around."
Singh and Brosseau also unveiled a website that they said was designed to help encourage people to vote. The site, called howyouvote.ca, is designed to explain the voting process and help people overcome reluctance to cast a ballot, Singh said.
This report from the Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2021.
The Canadian Press