This week was SO enjoyable. Martha was in Ottawa for the week and we got to spend some quality time together. One of the highlights of the week happened after-hours. Martha, Anne-Sophie, and I headed to Hyes Steakhouse, which is 'the' Ottawa political institution for politicians to shoot the breeze after Wednesday's Question Period. We sat on the patio and had dinner and ended up closing the place down after midnight. But more importantly, we solved the problems of the world - or at least we got to the meat of the underrepresentation of women in politics in Canada (well - we had a colourful conversation trying to get to the meat of it!!). By the end of the evening, we both felt like we have come such a far way in the development of the women and politics book. It's really coming together and we both feel great about the work we've done this summer. It will be such an amazing feeling when the book is finally done.
I have been having such a fun time with these book interviews. I am talking to politicians and journalists....all really interesting Canadians. A highlight was talking to "Right Honorable" Paul Martin yesterday. He has such a laid back and fun demeanor. Very easy to talk to, and he had a lot of interesting thoughts about women and politics. This afternoon I talked with Minister Peter MacKay (Canada's Minister of Defense) - who was surprisingly soft spoken and very thoughtful about the topic. The interviews are focusing on the personal - stories and anecdotes from their years in office or on a beat - and its proving to be really fun to hear.
The work on the women and politics book is getting really interesting. This week, both Martha and I travelled to the wild west to Alberta (my homeland - yes, I admit it!). Martha first journeyed to Edmonton to meet and speak with Liberals there (see, not all Albertans lean to the right), and then she was off to a ranch in the foothills for a few days of riding. In between, Martha and I met for a marathon working lunch (just about 4 hours worth) to talk about the progress of the book. Martha has created a list of ~20+ politicians and members of the media, both men and women, for me to interview over the next few weeks regarding their views on women and politics - why do they think we are under-represented, and what can we do as a nation to change that? We want to get to the bottom of the assumptions about women and politics, and then posit some ideas about the realities of these assumptions, as well as the barriers to women's greater political involvement. On the list are former Prime Ministers, current cabinet members, and some really well-respected journalists....Martha has been exceptionally cool about giving me free reign to just call up these people and arrange meetings or phone chats. My favorite quote of the week:
Me: "But Martha, can I really just call up Paul Martin for a chat??" Martha: "Of course you can....this is Canada - we're like that here - oh, and he'll just call you back if he's busy."
Hailing from western Canada, this feisty foreigner studied religion and global politics as a dual-degree student at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Divinity School. Following graduation in 2008, Margaux switched gears and opted to learn the ins and outs of the finance world by accepting a position with Harvard's Financial Strategy and Planning group. Margaux has maintained her love of Canadian politics by working with Martha Hall Findlay in 2009 and again during her 2013 leadership bid. Although she loves her Boston life, Margaux is ever planning her move from Harvard Square to Parliament Hill.