Manly Yes, but I like Her Too

Article excerpt

[Graph Not Transcribed]

I was pissed in my last column--at almost everything.

Well, I'm still pissed. When do I get to be ecstatic about the progress of women?

Well okay, enthusiastic would do. Hell, pushed, desperate and painted into a corner, I'll accept undepressed--sort of like the Ikea ads that tout the company as 'unboring.'

What makes me not irked, not ired, not just angry, but really and truly damned pissed, is Sheila Copps. Let me state up front that I like Copps, admire her even. I've interviewed her and found her to be highly intelligent, funny, thoughtful, tough and caring. On top of all that, she always does her homework and speaks a bunch of languages. What's not to like? Unless of course you're intimidated by a woman who speaks her mind.

Anyway, I am pissed at Copps, who I like. And admire. It is admirable that she has entered the Liberal leadership race. Again. She doesn't stand a chance, of course. For two reasons: 1) Paul Martin 2) She will never live down the characterization of her as a harridan, after leaping across the Commons for the throat of her nemesis, John Crosbie. (I've long wanted to use the word harridan, by the way; it means vixen.)

Note that John Manley doesn't stand a chance either. For two reasons: 1) Paul Martin 2) Paul Martin. When I interviewed Copps a few years back, we talked a lot about how women politicians are treated on the Hill. It was like talking in code, because we both knew exactly what it was like. In fact, the only woman politician I've ever spoken to who insisted everything is peachy in Ottawa for women was Deborah Grey (who, by the by, has announced her departure from politics). I'll just keep right on going here.

The point is that Copps has had every trick in the book used on her to keep her in her place (publicly being called "baby" by her peer John Crosbie pales in comparison to the more subtle and hurtful methods that can be employed). …