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Sexism in the House of Commons

The Story

Peals of laughter greeted Vancouver MP Margaret Mitchell when she posed a question about a parliamentary report on battered women in 1982. By 1991, things haven't changed much: MP Barbara Greene says she has been threatened by a fellow caucus member and told to shut up. And even though MP Deborah Grey doesn't identify herself as a feminist, she agrees sexism is a problem in the House. A week after MP Bill Kempling apologized for calling MP Sheila Copps a slut, CBC reporter Karen Webb finds that female MPs agree there's one very good way to address the issue: elect more women. 

Medium: Television
Program: Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Sept. 23, 1991
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Karen Webb
Guests: Dawn Black, Kim Campbell, Barbara Greene, Deborah Grey, Margaret Mitchell
Duration: 6:11

Did You know?

• This report followed an incident in which MP Bill Kempling said, of MP Sheila Copps, "what a slut" as he sat down after responding to her request to apologize for telling her to "go back to the sewer." Later that day, Kempling maintained that his actual words had not been "what a slut" but "what a pain in the butt." The following day, Kempling said he had "lost his temper," but he unequivocally apologized to Copps and any other members who were offended by his words. He also withdrew the previous day's comments.


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