Surgeon, waitress, envoy among fresh faces in Ottawa
With Monday's election triggering what will be a massive sea change on Parliament Hill, it's inevitable that a number of prominent MPs will be clearing out their offices and returning to civilian life, while others will be packing up and heading to their new digs in the country's capital.
Monday's vote brought down a number of giants, such as Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe. But a number of fresh faces will be filling the void, from a much-maligned cocktail waitress to a surgeon and a former high-level diplomat.
Here is a roundup of some of those newly elected MPs who will be learning the ropes on Parliament Hill.
- Peter Penashue (Labrador)
Penashue, a well-known Innu leader in Labrador, won a close race that at times saw him trailing incumbent Liberal Todd Russell. In fact, at one point the riding was declared as a Liberal win, but when all the polls were in it was Penashue that came out on top.
Penashue has earned a name for himself negotiating land claims on behalf of the Innu people as well as working with nickel and hydroelectric developers to ensure his people are represented.
- Christopher Alexander (Ajax-Pickering)
The former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan and the United Nations gave up his career in high-level diplomacy in order to run for a seat as a Conservative. He faced a tough challenge up against outspoken Liberal Mark Holland. With Lawrence Cannon defeated in the election, Alexander would be a strong contender to take over the Foreign Affairs portfolio.
- Parm Gill (Brampton-Springdale)
Gill was able to capitalize on controversy dogging incumbent candidate Ruby Dhalla who has faced down allegations she had mistreated a nanny working in her home. The case has gone to court, but hearings had to be postponed due to the election campaign. Gill's victory also shows the Conservatives' efforts to target the East Asian community, particularly in the GTA, has worked.
- Kellie Leitch (Simcoe-Grey)
With a victory over former Conservative cabinet minister Helena Guergis -- who ran as an independent -- Leitch has earned her spot in Ottawa. The pediatric orthopedic surgeon has worked closely with the Conservatives to help create and implement a tax credit for families that enroll their children in fitness activities.
- Tyrone Benskin (Jeanne-Le Ber)
Benskin, a veteran actor, musician and director is one of the many NDP candidates vaulted to MP status amid the party's powerful surge in Quebec. Benskin, who was accused of having poor French by Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe during the campaign, has a long list of acting credits to his name, including a role co-starring in "The Boys of St. Vincent."
- Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier-Maskinonge)
Perhaps the most unlikely winner in the election, Brosseau took criticism earlier in the election when it was reported she had taken a vacation to Las Vegas during the campaign. It was also revealed that she lived in Ottawa where she worked as an assistant manager at a bar where her main co-worker said he had never heard her mention politics. She wasn't in Berthier-Maskinonge and appears to have done few, if any, media interviews. There is no evidence the single mom has even visited the riding.
- Romeo Saganash (Abitibi - Baie-James - Nunavik - Eeyou)
The longtime Cree activist and lawyer resigned his role as a director with the Grand Council of Crees in order to run for office. The 49-year-old unseated Bloc Quebecois incumbent Yvon Levesque.
- Helene Laverdiere (Laurier-Saint-Marie-Quebec)
Laverdiere, who has been posted to Washington, Senegal and Chile with Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, unseated Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe in a stunning upset that saw the leader resign from his role late Monday night.
- McGill University students (various Quebec ridings)
According to the McGill newspaper on Tuesday, three current students and one recent graduate are all headed to Ottawa after winning ridings in Quebec. Charmaine Borg, Matthew Dube, and Laurin Liu are all current students, according to the paper. Mylene Freeman, who also won a Quebec seat, is a recent graduate. All four will be earning the base MP salary of $157,731 per year.
- Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands)
The Green Party leader, in her third attempt to win a seat, managed to make history and become the first elected Green Party MP in Canada. May unseated Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn, the minister of state for sport. The 56-year-old lawyer and author may have a tough slog ahead of her as the lone Green MP in a Parliament dominated by the majority Conservatives.
- Ted Hsu (Kingston and the Islands)
The Liberals' lone new face on Parliament Hill is Eastern Ontario's Ted Hsu. The riding was already in Liberal hands, but Hsu got his shot at the seat after longtime MP and Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken announced he was retiring. Hsu is a scientist and former trader who worked in Paris and Philadelphia, and as an executive director with Morgan Stanley in Tokyo. He spent the past few years as a stay-at-home dad.