02.09.2015 12:03 PM

From the archives: Laura and Eve (and others)

My friends Laura Miller and Eve Adams (coincidentally) are both in the news today, for different reasons. So, here is some of a column I did awhile back, wherein both women (coincidentally) are mentioned.

Oh, and my take on the Ottawa drama? I don’t see much downside for either Adams or Trudeau. Being an election year, weird stuff happens.


It was a little thing, apparently. A tweet, a bit of digital detritus, something that comes and goes, with little or no attention paid. Happens all the time.

What made it significant was not its casual sexism, or even that the tweet’s author (a high-profile columnist) or its target (a former deputy chief of staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty) are both female.

No, what made it most noteworthy was that, after the sexist tweet was tweeted, no one really said anything. No one really objected…

The occasion was the appearance of senior Ontario Liberal Laura Miller before a political circus masquerading as a legislative committee. As Miller testified about the decision to cancel gas plants — an issue considered moot by voters in McGuinty’s Ottawa South constituency, where they recently enthusiastically elected a former McGuinty aide to replace him in the provincial legislature — the columnist tweeted: “[Miller] looks and talks like a Valley Girl. This woman was the second most powerful person in the Premier’s office? Sad statement.”

What was “sad” was that the columnist — who I won’t name, and who (like all of us) shouldn’t be offering anyone tips about their personal appearance or diction — didn’t think the tweet was a problem.

Perhaps it was because they did not want to get on the wrong side of the arch-conservative columnist (unlikely). Perhaps they didn’t notice the tweet (unlikelier)…

Whatever the reason, one thing was axiomatic: What was noteworthy wasn’t the rank sexism. In politics, women get hit with that all the time, pretty much. What was significant, instead, is that even progressive political voices remained mostly silent.

In a scrum, with a straight face, Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor asks Conservative MP Michelle Rempel about hair products. No one objects. Before her re-election, B.C. Premier Christy Clark gets called a “MILF” by a radio host — that is, a “Mom I’d Like to (Expletive)” — and the ostensibly progressive B.C. NDP say nothing.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath gets called “a whore” by a radio commentator, and the other political panellists on the show — labour leader Buzz Hargrove and business leader Catherine Swift — say nada.
The sexism is bad enough; The indifference of people who should know better makes it measurably worse.

…There are other infamous examples. Former Liberal cabinet minister Belinda Stronach gets called, variously, a dog, a whore, a bitch and a prostitute — and her critics (all Conservative politicians) are widely condemned. John Crosbie dismisses Sheila Copps as a baby, and ends up boosting her reputation, and diminishing his own.

Too often, however, these things pass without comment. Sexism directed at female politicos receives a collective shrug. It’s almost worse than the sexist remark that preceded it.

Oh, and Laura Miller? She’s no dummy. And she deserved a lot better than she got — not just from the columnist, but from erstwhile friends, too.


  1. Matt says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Eve Adams eithe lost or withdrew her nomination to run for the CPC in 2015 after it was discovered she and boyfriend Dimitri Soudas were pulling some rather underhanded shanannigans, ironically allegedly including bullying and intimation (which she accused Harper of today) to try and ensure Eve won the nomination. That incident also cost Soudas his job as party president.

    So, she wasn’t going to be running for the Conservatives in October anyway. Not as big a loss as the media will make this out to be. And reading the comments from Liberal supporters online attatched to various articles, it might not have the positive splash Trudeau was hoping for.

    • Matt says:

      That should be bullying and intimidation.

    • MC says:

      That’s what caught my attention, reading this in the HuffPo article: “Adams is the fiancée of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former director of communications Dimitri Soudas. He was fired last March as the Conservative Party of Canada’s executive director for meddling in her Tory nomination battle. Adams suggested Soudas was supportive of her decision to join the Grits and would work with her campaign.”

      If that’s true, then it wouldn’t be hard to say “no wonder she would feel right at home with Trudeau’s Liberals”.

      I agree, however, there is no obvious downside for Trudeau here; other than that she might not win. Telling the story that she is an opportunist, back-room manipulator and flip-flopper doesn’t appear like it would be difficult based on just the little I’ve read. Might not be fair, I grant you. Might not be true. But the story doesn’t appear to be hard to make or sell. Hm. No obvious upside then either.

  2. Lance says:

    So she had issues with Conservative party rules for nominations, and now she joins the Liberals? Have fun hot-potatoing her new nomination, Justin; enjoy the baggage, LOL

    That sound you hear? That is the Tory war-room denizens high-fiving each other with utmost glee.

    • Étienne says:

      re: Tory war-room denizens high-fiving each other…

      Unless Soudas is included in the package. Does anyone know if Soudas also going to sit on the Liberal side of the table now? If so, as recent past ED of the Conservative Party and former Communications Director for Harper, wouldn’t he bring very important information and experience to the Liberals? How useful could that be?

    • GFMD says:

      Won’t be so fun when the Libs have someone who can credibly say “Yes, CPC policy X is terrible and a lot of MPs want to say so, but they’re too afraid of Stephen Harper.”

  3. Matt says:

    And the truth is slowly beginning to come out.

    CBC now reporting Eve Adams was informed on January 29th that she would not be allowed to run for the Conservatives because of her misconduct in the Oakville North-Burlington nomination race.

  4. Kevin T. says:

    I think the visual of another Con leaving the sinking ship of cons is worth more to the narrative of Harper on his way out than of her being of any actual value to the Liberals. Besides, it’ll take forever to wash away the Harperly fragrant Soudas stench.

    This is just a political play and well played, at that. Following Baird’s ejector seat exit last week, I have a feeling this will be far from the last. You don’t really see people fighting to represent a Con riding anymore, but they are lining up for the exit.

    • Lance says:

      So she crossed the floor to join another party AFTER her own side denied her as a candidate and you hail this move as “well played”?

      LOL Um, ok………………

  5. doconnor says:

    Is calling someone a “Valley Girl” any more sexist then calling someone a actress, or is it just one of those terms that have gender specific forms? “Valley Boy” would be the term for a male.

    Of course politicians shouldn’t be insulting the appearance or speaking style of others in gender neutral ways, either.

  6. Peter Loewen says:

    Is Adams mentioned in that column? I note Rempel, but not Adams. That said, they did both get questioned for beauty product expenses at some point. Adams was asked, if memory serves, by Carolynn Bennett in QP.

  7. davie says:

    Looks like more Conservative dirty tricks to me!
    JT should have held out for Chong, maybe Rempel, or that guy from London, Holder.

    I am imagining a Liberal constituency exec meeting in a Greater Toronto Area office: “See, I tol’ja, we should’a had our nomination last month. I tol’ja.”

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