This riding northeast of Montreal became a symbol of the NDP’s crushing wave in 2011 over the province of Quebec after the party’s candidate won despite the fact she didn’t speak French well and spent part of the campaign vacationing in Las Vegas. But since that victory — during which the NDP won 59 out of Quebec’s then-75 seats — Ruth Ellen Brosseau picked up the language and became respected in her riding. The former bar manager was among 16 NDP members to keep their seats in the 2015 election. Brosseau is so popular in the riding the Liberals tried to recruit her to run for them in 2019. She rejected their attempts, saying the NDP was “family.” Brosseau is running again and her riding is considered one of the few the NDP has a chance to keep heading into October’s vote. But the Liberals need to increase their seats in Quebec to make up for losses elsewhere and the party is eyeing Berthier-Maskinonge as a winable riding. The riding is shaping up to be a three-way race as the Bloc Quebecois is looking to re-take the seat it represented before the NDP came into the picture.
Population: 100,371 (Elections Canada)
Major communities: the municipalities of D’Autray and Maskinonge, as well as part of the city of Trois-Rivieres.
Incumbent: Ruth Ellen Brosseau, NDP
Main challengers: Liberal party director of operations Christine Poirier for the Liberals; history teacher Yves Perron for the Bloc Quebecois; college teacher Josee Belanger for the Conservatives; investment adviser Eric Laferriere for the Greens.
Election history: Ruth Ellen Brosseau won the riding in 2015 with 42 per cent of the vote, an increase from 2011, when she won with 40 per cent. Before then, the riding was represented by the Bloc Quebecois’ Guy Andre, who won the riding in 2008 with 46 per cent of the vote. He also won the riding in 2006 and 2004 with significant margins over his competitors
Fun fact: The riding is home to the annual Louiseville buckwheat festival that celebrates the harvest season for the area’s staple product. Since 1978, people have been gathering in the town to celebrate the harvest of the area’s staple product.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2019.
The Canadian Press