She's so Cools

Mon, October 25, 2004

Senator Ann Cools is hot. Cools has won the Toronto Sun's 10 Top Women poll with almost 50% of the votes -- and her victory is attributed to her fight to help men.

Voters from across the country -- mostly men -- cast ballots for Cools, who spearheaded legislation giving fathers equal access to their children after a divorce.

"I'm as mesmerized as anyone else. I'm very humbled, touched," Cools, who is the only black, female senator in North America, said yesterday.

The Sun started the 10 Top Women poll after the CBC held a contest to find the greatest Canadian from a list of 10 men.

"I've never spent time seeking recognition, but this strengthens my resolve to continue to represent the people I represent and stand up for what is right," said Cools, adding she stands up for men.

In 1997, Cools battled for divorce guidelines to give men equal access to their children after a split with their spouse.

"A child needs to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. I fought the disservice done to men, who just want to see their babies. That's why I have enormous political support," she said.

"I stick to my guns and that doesn't get you to the top of the ladder. I question government all the time. That's why I switched governments."

In June, Cools announced she would no longer sit as a Liberal senator and joined the Conservative caucus in the Senate because she could no longer defend Grit spending scandals, particularly the billions wasted on the sponsorship scandal and on the gun registry.

Alfred Watson, of Arthurette, New Brunswick, learned about the 10 Top Women poll on a Web site dedicated to protecting children and decided to vote for Cools. "She is courageous and tries to bring justice to divorce courts," Watson said.

Art Lowe, of Victoria, B.C., said Cools should be prime minister.

When asked who she thought should be on the 10 Top Women list, Cools said, "I don't think it is up to me to judge anyone so leave me out of this."

Other women nominated roughly split the rest of the ballots and include author Margaret Atwood, astronaut Roberta Bondar, feminist activist Nelly McClung, actress Mary Pickford, dancer Karen Kain, singer Anne Murray and skier Nancy Greene.

A few loyal husbands voted for their wives.