OTTAWA – The path is clear for rookie New Democrat MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau – who has been under scrutiny since taking off to Las Vegas in the middle of the campaign – to take her seat in the House of Commons, as far as Elections Canada is concerned.
But there are still options available for the candidates who lost the contest and contemplating a byelection to take the Quebec seat away from Brosseau, who speaks very limited French and didn’t wage a campaign.
"There’s still a recourse, and that’s why the legislation is written this way," said Elections Canada spokesman John Enright.
According to the Canada Elections Act, results can be contested on the grounds that someone was not eligible to be a candidate, or if there were irregularities, fraud, or corrupt or illegal practices that affected the results of the election.
Candidates can file a claim with the courts if they feel any of this applies to the contest in their riding.
The decision to overturn or uphold the results is at the discretion of the courts and not Elections Canada, Enright said.
Liberal and Conservative candidates who ran to represent the predominantly French-speaking riding of Berthier-Maskinonge have indicated their willingness to have a byelection, alleging some of Brosseau’s nomination documents were
But the papers were accepted by the local returning officer’s office, so Monday night’s results stand, Enright said.
"The nomination paper was accepted, the name of the candidate appeared on the ballot, and the election was held, so the result is valid."
For a potential candidate to be considered, he or she must collect the names, addresses and signatures of 100 constituents.
The NDP has maintained that all signatures were collected legitimately.
Brosseau has been keeping a low profile since winning her riding, with NDP spokespeople saying only that she is receiving media training and taking French lessons before going in front of the microphone and television cameras.
Little is known about the 27-year old.
Her 65-word biography on the NDP website doesn’t offer much, saying only that she’s passionate about rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals, works as an assistant manager at a restaurant and earned a diploma at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ont.
Before Brosseau was swept into public office, she was the assistant manager at Oliver’s, a campus pub at Carleton University in Ottawa.