Elusive NDP rookie Ruth Ellen Brosseau has finally visited the Quebec riding she will represent in the House of Commons and, while she's being kept away from the media, she appears to be making a few new friends.
Locals had a chance to meet the new MP who made national headlines for vacationing in Las Vegas during the election, for never having set foot in the riding, and for not even speaking French.
Then after the election Brosseau remained out of sight, as the party said it would prepare her for public exposure by giving her some intensive French lessons.
On Wednesday, she made a number of appearances in the riding — accompanied by the NDP's Quebec lieutenant Thomas Mulcair.
Mulcair attempted to run interference for her when a Radio-Canada television crew approached to ask her a question.
The new MP, for her part, walked toward the reporter, smiled warmly and promised they would have a chance to speak later: "We'll see each other," Brosseau said in French.
Meanwhile, the Quebec lieutenant worked to cut short that conversation. Mulcair said she had a busy schedule.
Brosseau visits local attractions
An administrator at a small museum in Lavaltrie says Brosseau visited the building earlier Wednesday. The visit lasted two hours. Museum director Michelle Picard said the encounter was pleasant.
She said Brosseau read a short speech in French for a few minutes, then asked lots of questions about the museum and appeared to take an interest.
"Her French is quite good," Picard said. "I think she understands more than she can speak.… She's a very nice person, very easy to talk to."
The museum director said that, because Brosseau had been "invisible" since the election," people were wondering if she'd ever show up.
Picard said the Vegas vacation never came up Wednesday: "We were not here for politics."
The 27-year-old neophyte politician stunned everyone by handily winning the central Quebec riding — despite never setting foot in the region.
Brosseau was an assistant manager at an Ottawa pub, about 300 kilometres away from her new constituency.
The NDP also acknowledged during the campaign that her French needs improvement for her to be an effective representative of a riding that is 98 per cent francophone.