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Jane Taber

Motherhood trumps politics, Nancy Pelosi says Add to ...

Nancy Pelosi says her highest calling is being a mother and a grandmother. But, really, being the most powerful woman in U.S. politics can't be too bad either.

Ms. Pelosi is a mother of five - four daughters and one son - and also the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. In Ottawa for several days of meetings, she sat down for a lunch Thursday with 20 women at U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson's residence.

She is poised, smart, quick and lovely. She is also enthusiastic about politics, policy and getting things done.

Most of the conversation focused on the challenges women face in politics, encouraging young women to get involved in the political scene and just a little bit of trashing men (in a good way). For example, men often take ownership of ideas and issues that women suggest first. Ms. Pelosi noted, too, that women know how to multi-task; men not so much.

She urged the women at the lunch to take ownership of their ideas.

Mr. Jacobson's wife, Julie, a self-confessed "political junkie" put the group together. She imaginatively mixed Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen, his status of women minister, Rona Ambrose, and France Chrétien Desmarais, the philanthropist daughter of former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

Three female journalists were also in attendance, as well as former Ontario cabinet minister Mary Anne Chambers and Muslim activist, author and filmmaker Raheel Raza.

It was a fascinating group with provocative views and lots of opinions.

Ms. Pelosi listened and remarked on what everyone had to say. The good politician that she is, she remembered everyone's name and referred back to their comments.

As she has said, during this trip - her first to Ottawa - she was here to listen. And she did.

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