THE NEW WOMEN IN POLITICS
Judy LaMarsh is an MP. Pauline Jewett wants to be an MP. They’re a new kind of female politician — at home with lawbooks and ideas, but hustling, give-’em-hell grass roots campaigners, too They want the men’s vote — and they’ll fight like men to get it
Two OF THE FASTEST-RISING LIGHTS in Canadian politics are those of Judy LaMarsh and Pauline Jewett. Miss LaMarsh is a tall, fashionable lawyer who is the member of parliament for Niagara Falls, Ont. Miss (or Dr.; she has a Harvard Ph.D.) Jewett is a handsome, willowy professor of political science who is now running for parliament in the riding of Northumberland, a predominantly farming county on the north shore of Lake Ontario. As women, Misses LaMarsh and Jewett have in common their age bracket (the upper thirties), quick, disarming smiles, brisk, assertive intelligences and a taste for the sociability of politics. As politicians, they have membership in the same party (Liberal) and something that very few, if indeed any, other women politicians in Canada have ever had — an aim and an ability to be, in public life, politicians first and women second.
The February issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science carries a report by Miss Jewett on two 1960 by-elections in Ontario, including the one that sent Miss LaMarsh to Ottawa; perhaps the most interesting set of figures that Miss Jewett presents indicates that Miss LaMarsh, who won her riding by more than five thousand votes,
also attracted men and women voters in about the same proportion.
Judy LaMarsh, in fact, has already managed to establish a formidable reputation — formidable for a woman or a man — in the House of C ommons without once reverting to causes that are generally regarded as of particular interest to women. (She has also stayed carefully away from speaking in the House about Indians’ rights, a subject about which she feels strongly, but which comes under the jurisdiction of the Hon. Ellen Fairclough: Miss LaMarsh does not want to get involved in what she calls a "hair-pulling contest.”) Last fall, she touched off a lively parliamentary exchange by asking the minister of defense if it were true that the army had directed "that the FN rifle be used with a weaker cartridge than that originally designed for it because of the fact that there is a gas leak around the breach block.” (It wasn't true, quite, but the minister did admit that the rifles were being modified at a cost of sixteen dollars each partly to allow for ammunition from some other NATO countries.) She has made Prime Minister Diefenbaker a favorite and personal target in the Commons and not too long ago she was given the honor, rare for so new an MP, of leading her party's free-swinging
parliamentary attack on government economic policies. She is a furious campaigner w'ho triumphed in a by-election against such ungentlemanly slogans as "vote for Mitch and not the bitch” (which she does not attribute to her New Party opponent Edward Mitchelson).
A FAINT ECHO OF LAST HURRAHS
Miss LaMarsh is an experienced Organization Liberal — one of the few' in elected office — who has held at one time or another the vicepresidency of the Young Liberal Federation of Canada, the vice-presidency of the Ontario Liberal Association and the presidency of the Ontario Women's Liberal Association. She is, in sum. something of a wheeler-dealer, with a faint echo of last hurrahs in her speeches — she recently made eighteen on an eight-day trip and is one of her party’s three most-in-demand speakers — and a lusty delight in the give-'cm-hell aspects of politics. Members of the press gallery in Ottawa, where she is popular, have called her 'refreshing,” "colorful,” "outspoken.” and, once. "leggy.” Her clippings include the line, written of her. "the lone woman who has the most
CONTINUED ON PAGE 52
continued from page 31
“I don’t think there is such a thing as a woman’s viewpoint,” says the Liberals’ only woman member
powerful government in the country’s history stopped cold.”
Pauline Jewett, by contrast, is an egghead. Her platform manner is quiet, thoughtful, scholarly. On the day that Miss LaMarsh was ticking off the Tories on trade policy. Miss Jewett was quietly explaining to a group of labor leaders in her riding how and why she differed ideologically from the New Democratic Party. She used, in her explanation, such sentences as, "I tend to be an emotional egalitarian.” Also by contrast, she is a Joannie-come-lately to her party. Like many other academics, she was urged— and somewhat inclined — to join the New Party in its embryonic stages. But after more than a year of mind - searching, which ended sometime in 1959, she decided her sympathies were with the Liberals. Last summer, she took her sabbatical leave from the chairmanship of Carleton University’s department of political science to work full-time on seeking, and eventually winning, the party’s nomination in Northumberland, her mother’s home county and an area she knew and loved from her childhood summers.
All of which overemphasizes their differences. If no egghead. Judy LaMarsh is no blockhead. She has, as just one example, drafted the longest private member’s bill in remembered parliamentary history, an intricate and thoughtful series of proposals on copyright. And if Pauline Jewett is no Harry Truman—yet—she is no slouch as a campaigner. To win the nomination, she stumped Northumberland's towns, villages and farms for months, knocking on doors and leaning on fences, muddying her car and dirtying her boots and meeting, she estimates, nearly a thousand people; she won the support of enough of them that her nominating convention, largest in the riding's history, was almost no contest. (When a speaker was extolling the familyman virtues of one of her opponents, a man yelled from the audience; “I'll marry Pauline.”)
On a recent trip to Ottawa and Northumberland I asked each of these two members of the Liberals’ female brain trust what they thought the most important issues of the coming election would be. Their answers were quite similar—and notably unfeministic. Judy LaMarsh quickly named unemployment and trade, “though it would be hard to separate them.” How did she feel about nuclear arms for Canada? “Reluctantly, I'd be willing to go along with them.” she said, “if that were necessary for the preservation of NORAD. I'm not a unilateral disarmer, if that’s what you mean.” What about the Voice of Women? “I don't belong. although I’ve defended them in the House. I don’t think they should be unilateral disarmers; I do think they can exert a force for good, but I think they ought to have a lot more members—as many as half a million—before they try to lake such strong stands. I don’t think they can bypass their own government or the United Nations. That won't work.” Miss LaMarsh also talked about militia training, university education, health and welfare and the problem of the aged ("I certainly don’t think there should be an arbitrary retirement age”).
Miss Jewett named—“not in this order” —social security, health insurance (“I favor a plan whereby all people will be comprehensively covered”), and. in her somewhat professorial phrase, “the distribution of income in society.” What
about nuclear arms? “That is a decision we'll have to make in conjunction with other nations. We have to move toward arms control and the best way. obviously, is not to get involved ourselves. But we are not the same as Africans or Asians; our set of values is rather closely connected with those of the United States and the United Kingdom. We'd be kidding ourselves to say we could become true neutralists.” The Voice of Women? "They take a very strong position. I'm in sympathy with any humanitarian position, but at the same time I’m aware of the problems of power.”
If not on nuclear arms, wouldn't she consider herself a little left of the Liberal party on some other points? "I'm so undoctrinaire that I won't have any difficulty fitting in. I think the Liberal party provides a reasonably congenial home for people who are concerned with the social and economic structure of society. I don’t think, for instance, that government intervention is, per se, a good thing, so I’m not a socialist. My socialist colleagues, in fact, think of me as good old middle-ofthe-road Pauline. But I think that some government intervention, on a planned basis, not the kind the present government uses of responding to immediate pressures, is a good thing.”
A veteran at Varsity
Whatever her ideas, Judy LaMarsh is probably the only MP, male or female, in history, who has been capable of doing an architectural drawing with Japanese captions—one not-too-practical result of her variegated preparliamentary career. Miss LaMarsh’s father was an Ontario lawyer who built a successful practice first in Chatham, where she was born, and then in the Niagara peninsula, where she grew up. At seventeen, as a graduate of the Stamford Collegiate Vocational Institute, she tried to join the air force—it was 1942— and was turned down because of her bad eyes. She spent a year at normal school, in Hamilton, graduating with unspectacular marks but a primary teaching certificate. Still determined to see something of the war and the world, she tried again to enlist and this time was accepted by the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. Her aptitude tests, to her surprise, showed a talent for drafting and the army sent her to Toronto to learn to make architectural drawings for the engineers. As the war in the Pacific began to go the Allies’ way. there was a need for Japanese interpreters. Private LaMarsh volunteered. was accepted and sent to Vancouver to be trained (while she can no longer read or write Japanese she recently surprised a trade delegation from Japan by speaking a few sentences to them in their own language). She went on to C amp Ritchie, Maryland, to serve with a combined BritishU. S.-Canadian intelligence team. For a year and a half she worked on sorting and translating captured Japanese documents and trying, unsuccessfully, to wangle an assignment overseas. In March, 1946. with the rank of sergeant, she picked up her veteran's benefits and left for the University of Toronto.
As an undergraduate in the exciting years of (he veterans. Miss LaMarsh joined the campus Liberal club, worked on the student newspaper (“I was the worst headwriter in its history; I can even sympathize with some of the things the headlines have said about me ). ran dances, and did well enough in her courses, includ-
ing astronomy, to pass into Osgoodc Hall law school. There she did adequately (the Osgoodc gold key listed in her official biography is for extracurricular activities, she cheerfully admits) and in 1950. a year she was president of the senior class, she graduated as a lawyer and joined her father’s firm.
With the ink barely dry on her diploma, Miss LaMarsh created a small furor in legal circles by telling a bar meeting that conditions in some Ontario magistrate’s courts were disgraceful—a subject she still feels strongly about. But whatever the conditions, she worked successfully amid them—on everything from criminal law (including four murder cases) to municipal affairs (her father’s specialty). She also kept up her whirlwind extraprofessional interests, so that during the Fifties she was, though not all at the same time: a director of the Greater Niagara General Hospital, budget chairman of the district community chest, president of the Niagara Frontier Canadian Club, secretary of the IODE, secretary-treasurer of the Niagara Falls Bar Association and secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Law Associations.
In 1957. her father died and she took over the practice herself. In 1960. on the death of the sitting MB for Niagara Falls, a Liberal, she won a rugged campaign for nomination and an even more rugged one for election. One of her particular targets was the labor vote in Niagara’s hundredodd factories. "I went into as many as I could. I used to call up in advance and ask for permission, which I’d usually get on the condition that the other candidates came in as well. I spent as long as six hours in some plants and sometimes my hands got so dirty from greeting men on the assembly lines that toward the end of my visit I'd be giving dirt to them." She won more than fifty percent of the vote.
Miss LaMarsh has since become one of the busiest backbenchers in the Commons, speaking frequently on unemployment, a vital issue in her own constituency, on defense, and occasionally on a welter of other subjects. In the debate over amendments to the capital punishment sections of the Criminal Code, Justice Minister Fulton credited her with suggesting that people who kill police officers or jailguards be subject to the death penalty, a clause which was adopted by the House.
Does she bring a woman’s viewpoint to the Liberal caucus? "I don’t think there is such a thing as a woman’s viewpoint.” she says, “and 1 tried rapidly to put an end to suggestions that that’s what I was in Ottawa for. I do think women are better suited for some things than men. Women are nit pickers, and good at detailed work, like the homework and organization I had to do before writing my copyright bill, which is an attempt to prod the government into action as much as anything. One of the things 1 like about politics is the influence you have. I like people and I like working with them. Nearly all my friends, as I grow older, are in politics. I like being right at the heart of things.”
So does Pauline Jewett, now that she’s out on the hustings. Until her direct involvement in politics. Miss Jewett’s career was much quieter than Miss LaMarsh’s. Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ont., she went on to take an honors BA, then an MA. at Queen's University, in Kingston. Half way thiough her course (she had begun studying philosophy), she discovered political science—“and I knew I’d found my real forte; until then I’d wanted to be a lawyer, or perhaps a teacher, and when I found this subject 1 was as excited as I am now actually to be a part of it.” From Queen’s, Miss Jewett accepted a fellowship at Radcliffe College, the distaff half of Harvard, and took up a
part-time teaching assignment at nearby Wellesley, also a girls' college. After two years at Radcliffe and Wellesley she returned to Queen’s to teach and complete her BhD thesis (on the Wartime Prices and Trade Board) and discovered that, in at least one of her classes, all the students, veterans, were older than she was. She left Queen’s (not out of embarrassment) for a year at Oxford and the London School of Economics, then returned to join the staff of young and growing Carleton University in Ottawa. “It was and is a very exciting place to be," she says. "When I first started. our entire teaching staff was smaller than that of the economics department at Yale, but we were full of ideas and enthusiasm and all the different disciplines rubbed against each other.” A few years ago she was offered the post of dean of women at Queen's, but was too content at Carleton to leave.
In politics. Dr. Jewett has remained something of the academic, fascinated by ideas, tolerant of argument, undogmatic. She admits, in fact, to seeing part of her role as a public person as that of an educator. During her informal discussion
with the labor leaders in her riding, I jotted down this quotation—and felt a little as if I were taking lecture notes: “You can't justify these things (low wages at a local factory) on moral grounds. You can't justify them on economic grounds either, you know. You can prove—or economists can prove—that wages like this are bad for the economy as a whole.”
But teacher is rapidly becoming a pretty fair grass-roots politician too—and loving it. Her speeches, as the election draws nearer, are getting more and more political and less and less philosophical. Recently she spoke to a group of Liberals in Trenton—“the four Ds are Debt, Deficit, Diefenbaker and Depression”—and the chairman of the meeting said it was the best political speech he had ever heard. She is boning up on the farm problems that interest the people of Northumberland. where she is living, and she is shaking an awesome number of hands.
If she can shake enough—and enough convictions; she figures there are more lories than Liberals in her county—to win the riding, and if Judy LaMarsh can repeat in Niagara Falls. Liberal caucuses of the future will feel the effect of two strong and lively feminine voices. The ideas those voices present won’t be feminine at all. ★