Jack Layton kicked off his British Columbia campaign in Dona Cadman's riding, listing Surrey North as one of the Tory seats the NDP hopes to take on election day.
But the widow of maverick MP Chuck Cadman, who won the riding by about 1,000 votes in 2008, was not fazed by the attention Tuesday.
"You've got to start it someplace," Ms. Cadman told reporters, referring to Mr. Layton's decision to kick things off in B.C. on Sunday in Surrey North. "Why not? I don't mind."
NDP and Liberal critics have accused Ms. Cadman of being an MP who avoids attention.
On Tuesday, following a tax-cut announcement with high-profile B.C. Tory MP James Moore, Ms. Cadman took only five questions -about as many questions as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is answering in his daily news conferences.
She defended her decision to not show up for the vote last December that allowed B.C. and Ontario to proceed with a harmonized sales tax. Prior to that, she had said she would vote against the bill.
B.C.'s adoption of the tax has been unpopular, leading to the end of former premier Gordon Campbell's political career. Mr. Layton has served notice he will use the federal Tories' role in enacting the HST as a way to pry votes the NDP's way.
Ms. Cadman said she was caught between her party and her constituents.
"I wanted to show my support for my constituents, but I could not see standing up and voting outwardly no to my party. It would be like poking them in the eye with a stick so I felt that not being there showed that I was for the vote."
Asked if she thought her stand might help her against NDP attacks, she said, "It might. I am hoping it would. You know what elections are like.
"People are very funny, and you never know what's going to happen. It's a crapshoot."
That was Question 4. Question 5 was about a resident, who has been a Liberal then a Conservative, and has now turned on the Tories.
And then, from an aide: "Sorry. We've got to go. Thank you."