There have been few politicians in Canada to compare to Charlotte Whitton

"Although she had been pretty in her youth, by the time of her re-election in 1960 Charlotte Elizabeth Hezeltyne Whitton had become a dumpy and unattractive woman. Her five-foot frame had thickened, her face grown haggard. When not decked out in the finery of her office, she wore frumpy clothes and, occasionally, hairnets to work.

Not these things did not seem to bother her. She once recounted to city council the story of a train ride to Toronto, when she had trouble sleeping in the upper berth because of a noisy drunk below her. Fed up, she jiggled the curtains on the bunk as a hint for him to be quiet. A voice boomed from below in response, "No thanks, lady, I saw you when you got on the train."

"There have been few politicians in Canada to compare to Charlotte Whitton. She would say anything to anyone. Once, when the Lord Mayor of London was traveling across Canada, Whlitton hosted a formal civic banquet which the Lord Mayor attended in all his finery: buckled shoes, silk stockings, his robe and beloved chain of office. Whitton wore her mayoral robes, adorned with a corsage.

"Madam, if I smell your rose, will you blush?" the Lord Mayor, leaning over during dinner, inquired in a whisper.

"Sir, if I pull you chain, will you flush?" Whitton retorted.

-- from Babad and Mulroney: "Campeau, the Rise and Fall"

I was living in Ottawa at the time, and I once one a costume contest at the skating rink by dressing up as Charlotte Whitton. She was a toughie. She once said of Robert Campeau, "when I look at his houses, I think perhaps nuclear bombardment might not be such a terrible thing after all." The Campeau house we lived in, one of his first, was all right, but it took months to connect it to the sewers, and the unpaved streets were so deep in gumbo mud I once actually lost a rubber boot in a particularly deep rut.
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