A New Campaign Paradigm?

Ruth Ellen Brosseau may be onto something; an entirely new way to ‘run’ for public office. Her recent election in a riding that she’s only now, post-election, planning to visit for the first time, suggests electioning could use a dose of miminalism, if not ‘nilism’.

Forget door-to-door campaigning; don’t bother with candidates’ meetings; nix the profile barbecue attendance – just head off for Vegas. (There’s at least one enormous plus I can see to running the non-campaign – you’ll never say anything to turn off a single potential voter.)

It’s hard to say whether several of Brosseau’s other qualities – limited French language skills (in an overwhelmingly Francophone riding) and absolutely no experience in public life – helped tip the balance in her favour. (Maybe so; Quebecers are sometimes intriguingly contrarian in their thinking.)

Now, whether Ms. Brosseau will have a long-term future in Ottawa remains to be seen. But she’s now being mentored by one of the very best at the vocation of making a generous living while mostly just taking up space – Thomas Mulcair (although Mr. Mulcair recently broke one of the cardinal rules about opening one’s mouth to confirm cranial vacancy).

There is a characterization of backbench Parliamentarians as “trained seals” that Ms. Brosseau would be well advised to heed – toe the party line; cheer when you should; keep your mouth shut the rest of the time. Who knows? If she continues the minimalist theme through her term of office and doesn’t draw any untoward attention to herself in the papers, she only needs to get elected one more time to be set for life.

In other words, just as the Seinfeld series was [only partly] satirically described as a “show about nothing”, so might a Canadian elected Parliamentarian’s political journey be a case of life imitating “art”. I guess that only leaves the question of the possibility that the campaigning style becomes so popular that the electorate might only get to set their eyes on any of the candidates after the election.

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