Questions raised about rookie NDP MP's papers

Two people whose names appear on the nomination papers for Ruth Ellen Brosseau, elected as an NDP MP Monday, say they aren't sure how they ended up there.

Two people whose names appear on the nomination papers for the NDP's newly elected MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau say they never provided their signatures to support her candidacy.

Radio-Canada reported Wednesday that the signatures of René Young and his wife are on Brosseau's papers, but the couple doesn't remember agreeing to endorse her.

Young says the signature looks like his, but he has no recollection of being asked to support Brosseau's nomination as a candidate in the Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinongé. He said his wife's name is also on the list but the signature bears no resemblance to hers.

Ruth Ellen Brosseau was elected as an NDP Member of Parliament on Monday, May 2. (Canadian Press)
"I'm really surprised and am having a hard time understanding ... I have no recollection of that. The signature looks like mine, but not my wife's," Young told Radio-Canada. "We're always together. I don't see how I would have signed it and she did not, and it's not even the same pen."

The report raises questions about the validity of Brosseau's candidacy, which was approved by the local returning officer for the Quebec riding that Brosseau won in Monday's federal election. She won the seat, formerly held by the Bloc Québécois, by more than 5,000 votes.

Vegas vacation raised eyebrows

Brosseau was one of the candidates who made headlines during the campaign, when it was discovered she took a vacation to Vegas and continued living and working in Ottawa, several hours away from the riding she is now elected to represent, instead of campaigning full time.

A spokesperson for the NDP said all of the rules were followed in Brosseau's nomination process. "All the signatures were collected according to the rules and they were approved by the returning officer. Ms. Brosseau thanks the people of Berthier-Maskinongé for the support they gave her and which allowed her to be elected," Marc-André Viau said in a statement.

Elections Canada told CBC News it was informed about the issue through calls from the media. A spokesperson for the agency said officials are looking into it.

To be considered a candidate, nomination papers must include the signatures of 100 people who live in the riding. Once the signatures are collected and all of the other paperwork is complete, the nomination form is given to the local returning officer.

The returning officer has 48 hours upon receipt to review the nomination paper and to confirm that the nominating electors listed on the form are entitled to vote in that riding. It is up to the returning officer to accept or reject a nomination.

The official elections agent for the Liberal candidate in the race, Francine Gaudet, says some people who signed the paper were told they were signing a petition, according to the Radio-Canada report.

Brosseau works as an assistant manager at Oliver's pub, on the campus of Carleton University in Ottawa. In her candidate profile on the NDP website Brosseau is described as a "dedicated community activist and volunteer" whose passions include rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals. She holds a diploma in advertising and marketing from St. Lawrence College in Kingston.

The young woman doesn't speak French well but is now the MP for a mainly francophone riding.

NDP Leader Jack Layton took several questions about Brosseau and his other young and inexperienced candidates during his first press conference as the new opposition leader Tuesday.

He defended the MPs, saying their new and fresh faces in politics should be viewed as a good thing, and that the choices of voters in their ridings should be respected. Layton said his team will work with Brosseau to help her improve her French so that she is able to serve her constituents.