Ruth Ellen Brosseau is a former NDP Member of Parliament whose origins in Canadian politics are a favourite tale among political observers and staffers in Ottawa. She was a ‘paper candidate’ for the NDP in 2011, putting her name on the ballot in a longshot riding just so her favourite political party could fill a slate of candidate during the election that year. Famously, she was in Las Vegas during the campaign and never set foot in the Quebec riding where she was ostenibly carrying the NDP banner.
Then the so-called ‘orange crush’ happened with a wave of support for an ailing Jack Layton propelling a number of Quebec NDP candidates – including Brosseau – into Parliament. The unilingual English-speaking Brosseau now represented Berthier-Maskinongé, a 98% francophone riding in Quebec.
Would her victory be a one-off? She learned French and impressed her constitutents enough that she went on to hold the seat through until 2019 when the NDP was wiped out in Quebec save for one seat held by MP Alexandre Boulerice. Brosseau lost her seat to Bloc candidate Yves Perron.
Now Brosseau tells TVA in response to their inquiry on her political future – with an expected election call to occur on Sunday – that she will have some news to announce in the coming days and that if she were to run, it would be with the NDP. The Liberal Party actively sought to recruit Brosseau with the former MP rejecting these overtures, according to TVA’s reporting.
If she chooses to represent the NDP in Berthier-Maskinongé, she’ll be up against the Liberal’s second choice, Alexandre Bellemare and Conservative candidate Léo Soulières.
Brosseau’s political career has certainly had its ups and downs. Brosseau served as deputy national caucus chair with her party but was also elbowed by Prime Minister Trudeau in the House of Commons in a scandal dubbed ‘Elbowgate’. Brosseau faced verbal harrassment by Liberal supporters for days after the incident. Conservatives rallied to her defense.
Will Brosseau return to the House of Commons? Will she announce that she intends to run?
Canada’s federal political parties are already on an election footing. I was able to obtain an advance copy of the NDP platform. I’ve posted both the executive summary and full platform document below. If you dislike Scribd embeds, I’ve also provided some download links as well.
The NDP campaign slogan appears to be “Ready for Better” while the Liberals are rumoured to be testing “Forward. For Everyone.”
MONTREAL – The NDP has suspended a member from its shadow cabinet because of his chronic, long-term failure to pay taxes.
Tyrone Benskin has been stripped of his role as official-languages critic until he pays the taxes he owes.
The announcement follows a report that Quebec’s revenue agency has contacted the House of Commons to seize part of his salary because of more than $58,000 he owes the province for unpaid taxes between 2007 and 2011.
Benskin authored a private member’s bill which was put to a vote in 2012. Here is a summary of the bill from Benskin’s website,
The culture industry is one of the biggest sectors of the Canadian economy. But due to their often irregular hours and inconsistent incomes, artists are nearly always disadvantaged both by punitively high taxation during years of high earning and by being ineligible for a number of federal programs such as Employment Insurance (EI), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and others.
Tyrone Benskin’s Bill C-427 will begin to level the playing field by allowing Canadian artists to average their income over a period, achieving considerable tax savings over two to five years. This would follow the example of Quebec and of a number of foreign countries.
This is a deeply personal project for Mr. Benskin, who has been an artist for over 30 years. C-427 is born of an intimate understanding of the numerous and pressing challenges faced by contemporary Canadian artists.
Is it not a conflict of interest for a Member of Parliament to be legislating on an issue that affects him directly? We’re all taxpayers of course, but doesn’t this legislation affect his particular case directly?
Mr. Benskin lost his shadow cabinet position today in the NDP caucus. Should we have sitting MPs that legislate specifically to their own interest? Should Benskin be facing the Ethics Commissioner instead? This appears to be a grossly unethical conflict of interest.