May 15, 2000
Macfarlane, Walter & Ross
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1551990466
ISBN - 13: 9781551990460
From the Publisher
On December 9, 1998, the proceedings in the House of Commons came to a shocking halt when the Liberal MP for Windsor-St Clair, Shaughnessy Cohen, collapsed on the floor of the chamber. The heartfelt outpouring of every party, from foreign ambassadors, even from seasoned press gallery journalists - caught those beyond the hothouse of Parliament Hill by surprise. Who was this woman, an apparently obscure second-term backbencher, who commanded such respect and affection?
Shaughnessy Cohen's story is one that Canadians rarely see up close: the rollercoaster career of a politician who operates outside the spotlight reserved for cabinet ministers, whose hectic life is divided between the nation's capital and a modest constituency office back home, whose only national coverage might be found in the barbed satire of Frank magazine. But to those who knew her, the 50-year-old Cohen - born into an Irish Catholic family, married to a Jewish academic - was an exceptional, unforgettable figure.
A criminal lawyer who, like the city she represented, enjoyed a slightly naughty, good-time reputation, Shaughnessy Cohen learned how to use women's politics to succeed in a man's world. When she arrived in Ottawa in 1993, she was shamelessly partisan and fiercely ambitious, carefully cultivating ties with power brokers like Paul Martin, Allan Rock, Herb Gray, Lloyd Axworthy, and Anne McLellan, her Ottawa roommate. And she was notoriously indiscreet; even the PMO couldn't quiet "Radio Shaughnessy" when the Liberals were warring amongst themselves over gun control and gay rights.
By the time of her death, she had served as a member of Parliament for five years, surviving the infighting of Windsor politics to win her seat in two elections, learning sometimes painful lessons as a rookie, and finally finding her niche as the much admired chair of the Justice Committee. Eventually she developed a style of politics reaching across barriers that discouraged others and leavening every effort with a generous humour that was subtly effective. To watch how she did it is to go inside the nomination battles, the caucus meetings, the committee rooms where the unseen drama of the nation's politics is played out, and the understand, perhaps in a way that has never before been so fully revealed, the realities that confront a woman in political life.
About the Author
Susan Delacourt, who knew Shaughnessy Cohen for almost a decade, was parliamentary correspondent for the Globe and Mail for ten years. In her sixteen years with the Globe she also served on the editorial board, won the paper's Stanley McDowell award for writing, and was nominated for a National Newspaper Award for her coverage of the Meech Lake Accord. In 1993 she published United We Fall, a critically acclaimed account of the Charlottetown constitutional talks. Now a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, she lives in Ottawa.
From Our Editors
When usual proceedings in the House of Commons came to a shocking halt on December 9, 1998, Liberal MP for Windsor-St.Clair Shaughnessy Cohen lay dead on the floor of the chamber. What followed was a profound if not surprising outpouring of grief and dismay as politicians from every party, from backbencher up to the PM himself voiced their grief. Shaughnessy: The Passionate Politics of Shaughnessy Cohen tells the story of this remarkable woman’s life, from law-school to success in Ottawa’s political circle. Author Susan Delacourt reveals a young politician determined to meet the challenges in a man’s world as she developed a style of politics that transcended barriers and made her a powerful, yet subtle presence. Eschewing the spotlight, hers wasn’t an image you saw nightly on the six-o’clock news, but it was her passing that revealed an indelible mark made on the face of Canadian politics.
“A biography of a politician by a member of the Fourth Estate, with a foreword by the Prime Minister, is a rare literary (and political) event indeed.”
–Globe and Mail