Longshot MP named NDP’s deputy ag critic

(File photo)

A rookie Quebec MP who gained brief infamy by skipping part of her election campaign for a Vegas vacation is now deputy agriculture critic in Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

The New Democrats on Thursday named Ruth Ellen Brosseau, MP for the central Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinonge, as the deputy agriculture critic in new leader Thomas Mulcair’s shadow cabinet.

Brosseau, who turns 28 next week, became the victim of low expectations in the lead-up to last May’s federal election. She faced long odds to unseat incumbent Guy Andre, who’d held the riding for the Bloc Quebecois in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Working before the election as an assistant manager at a Carleton University campus pub in Ottawa, Brosseau made national headlines for the fact that she kept to her pre-election plans for a vacation in Las Vegas during the campaign.

Brosseau had been considered a “parachute” candidate to keep the NDP on the ballot in Berthier-Maskinonge, west of Trois-Rivieres. She was also ribbed in the media after her election for having limited French in a solidly francophone riding.

She was born in Hudson, near Montreal, studied advertising and integrated marketing at St. Lawrence College at Kingston, Ont., and also became known as an animal welfare activist.

As deputy ag critic, Brosseau replaces another of the NDP’s newfound caucus of Quebec rookies, Compton-Stanstead MP Jean Rousseau, who Mulcair has promoted to critic for the federal Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec.

In the deputy chair, she will back up Malcolm Allen, the MP for the Niagara-area riding of Welland, Ont., who remains in the lead ag critic post he’s had since shortly after the 2011 election.

Among other shadow cabinet posts of interest to farmers, Winnipeg MP Pat Martin remains as critic on the Canadian Wheat Board, Ottawa MP Paul Dewar as foreign affairs critic, Vancouver MP Libby Davies as health critic and Toronto MP Olivia Chow as transport, infrastructure and communities critic.

On the international trade file, Vancouver MP Don Davies replaces Windsor MP Brian Masse, who becomes critic on Canada-U.S. border and trade issues.

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