Ruth Ellen Brosseau open to NDP leadership


OTTAWA – Ruth Ellen Brosseau’s name was thrust back into the spotlight Thursday after she opened the door to a possible NDP leadership bid while her party looks to replace Tom Mulcair.

Brosseau, who first captured widespread attention during the 2011 election campaign over a vacation to Las Vegas, said Thursday that she entered politics as a single mother to help less-fortunate people become part of the middle class.

The former bartender turned Quebec NDP MP for the riding of Berthier-Maskinonge went on to earn high-praise in the years following the 2011 election. She was re-elected last fall despite disappointing results for several other New Democrats across Canada.

As she looks ahead, Brosseau said she will be reviewing the terms of the race.

“We have much to do to improve the lot of Canadians… so I am certainly going to reflect, maybe, about becoming a potential candidate in the leadership race,” she said.

“But I need to see what the criteria are (and) who are the other candidates who will come forward.”

Brosseau added that she has not started to take stock of how much support there is for her possible candidacy.

The NDP’s federal council — its key decision-making team — is expected to meet early next month to set the wheels in motion for the future race that could take up to two years.

In the meantime, Brosseau said she is proud to represent the interests of her riding and plans to take the possible leadership process one day at a time.

The 31-year-old NDP critic for agriculture and agri-food recently backed Mulcair’s bid to stay at the helm of the party though he was not successful in this attempt.

Mulcair’s leadership was flatly rejected at the party’s Edmonton convention this month, where 52 per cent of delegates voted in favour of a leadership review.

He plans to stay on as leader until a successor is named and does not intend to throw his name into the hat for another run at the job.

Brosseau isn’t the first to muse openly about leadership aspirations.

Veteran B.C. MP Nathan Cullen told The Canadian Press last week he is talking to his family about the idea of a leadership bid.

“I’m still at the stage of absorbing this reality,” he said.

“This was unexpected from my perspective. I do know whoever takes this on, that it is a significant commitment obviously and one that will be over a number of years.”

Cullen, 43, also backed Mulcair’s campaign to remain as leader and said he was surprised to see delegates in Edmonton vote in favour of turfing him.

“When asked about it over the last number of months, it was a very consistent ‘No,’ because I thought what would happen on Sunday was a continuation of Tom’s leadership so people were asking me to speculate on something that was years off,” Cullen said.

The MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley ran against Mulcair in the party’s 2012 leadership race following the death of leader Jack Layton.