A rookie NDP MP who won a seat in Quebec despite being largely invisible during the five-week campaign admits she has never set foot in her riding.
In her first media interview since being elected on Monday night, Ruth Ellen Brosseau said her victory in the southern Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinongé came as a "shock" because she "wasn't really expecting to win."
Brosseau told the Trois-Rivières newspaper Le Nouvelliste she will be visiting the riding in the next few days.
"Unfortunately, I've never had the opportunity to go to the riding," Brosseau said during the interview, which was conducted mostly in English and posted online Saturday.
"I'm really excited to come. I've heard it's a beautiful place, and everybody's been so friendly."
Brosseau has been criticized for not living in the riding where she ran, as well as for taking a trip to Las Vegas during the campaign.
Brosseau, who just turned 27, told the newspaper the Las Vegas trip was a "special birthday trip" that she couldn't cancel.
"It was planned before [the election], but it was just kind of bad timing," she said.
Brosseau, who worked as an assistant manager at a Carleton University campus bar in Ottawa, hours away from her riding, said she's always supported the NDP and was not paid to put her name on the ballot.
'I'm a very strong-willed person'
The newly minted parliamentarian spoke some French during the interview, but acknowledged she was "nervous" speaking the language, despite having a French father and attending French-immersion high school.
She also said she considers herself ready to serve the riding as an MP and suggested other newly elected members face the same adjustments.
"Obviously, all of us have a lot of training to do," she said. "I'm not the only one."
Brosseau dismissed speculation she was considering stepping down.
"I'm a very strong-willed person, a stubborn woman," she said. "Once I set my mind to something, I always stick to it."
Asked about her recent experience as the subject of intense media scrutiny, Brosseau said she didn't think anybody would be used to that kind of attention.
But she said it's made her a "stronger person," and said her "skin is getting thicker every day."