Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Physicist, financial consultant, green advocate, father - and new Liberal MP

Newly elected Liberal MP Ted Hsu photographed in Ottawa.

Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail/dave chan The Globe and Mail

Transition weeks are all about hello, goodbye, what's the right form for that, and where do I go next?

As the Liberal caucus meets Wednesday, rookie MPs from all three parties are getting ready to take their seats in the House of Commons, even as defeated veterans pack their boxes and hug their departing staff. Becoming a new Member of Parliament is like starting up a small business: There are constituency offices to rent, parliamentary offices to staff, an Ottawa apartment to locate for those from away, many, many forms to fill out, and the sometimes-arcane rules of Westminster parliamentary procedure to master.

Here are three of the new faces you'll find on the Hill when the 41st Parliament convenes in the coming weeks.

Story continues below advertisement

Below: Ted Hsu. Also read about Eve Adams and Hélène Laverdière.

The MP Rookie Liberal MPs are a scarce commodity in Ottawa these days: There are only two, and one of them has had quite a journey.

Ted Hsu is a 47-year-old physicist who replaces former Commons Speaker Peter Milliken as MP for Kingston and the Islands. He is one of only two elected Liberals in Ontario outside Toronto and Ottawa.

Mr. Hsu's victory is bittersweet; he will belong to a third-place party whose leader has been defeated and whose future is unclear.

"I have mixed emotions because of the national result, of course," he acknowledged in an interview. "But I'm really excited to get working."

He'll be joined by Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, the other newbie in the Liberal caucus.

Oklahoma born - he holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship - Mr. Hsu arrived in Kingston in 1964 as an infant, after his father joined Queen's University as a professor of chemical engineering.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Hsu also pursued science, receiving a doctorate in physics at Princeton. His work as a physicist, then as a financial consultant and finally as a stay-at-home-dad took him to British Columbia, France, Japan and California, before he returned home to Kingston in 2006, where he worked for a green-energy not-for-profit company and got involved in Liberal politics.

While Liberal-NDP splits favoured Conservatives across Ontario on election night, Mr. Hsu believes his environmental credentials persuaded potential NDP and Green supporters to back him instead, allowing him to squeak past his Conservative challenger by fewer than 3,000 votes.

Now this political arrival finds himself part of a much-diminished caucus already challenged by questions of who should lead the party for now and who should lead it in the future. Mr. Hsu doesn't believe the Liberals should rush into anything.

"I do like the idea of focusing on rebuilding the party rather than who the new leader is," he said. The first priority for him is reconnecting with the party's grassroots.

"A strong leader will come out of a strong party," he said. He'd like to wait for two years before choosing a permanent replacement for departed leader Michael Ignatieff.

In the meantime, it's all about setting up constituency and parliamentary offices and learning where the washrooms are. "I'm looking forward to climbing a steep learning curve," he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

John Ibbitson started at The Globe in 1999 and has been Queen's Park columnist and Ottawa political affairs correspondent.Most recently, he was a correspondent and columnist in Washington, where he wrote Open and Shut: Why America has Barack Obama and Canada has Stephen Harper. He returned to Ottawa as bureau chief in 2009. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at