McTeer was born in Cumberland, Ottawa to John and Bea McTeer. Her father taught her and her older sister, Colleen, to play hockey, resulting in McTeer's childhood dream of playing in the NHL. Her commitment to feminism was born when her father reminded her that girls do not play in the NHL. She switched her focus to her academic and debating talents, which earned her a scholarship to the University of Ottawa. She earned an undergraduate degree in 1973 and a law degree in 1976, both from Ottawa, where she served as features editor of the student newspaper, The Fulcrum, and was a member of the English debate team and the Progressive Conservative Campus Club. McTeer was later awarded an MA in biotechnology, law and ethics from the University of Sheffield, and in 2008 she received an honorary LLD from that institution.
McTeer worked as a staffer in Clark's office before marrying him in 1973. When Clark became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1976, McTeer became controversial – feminism still being a relatively new social phenomenon at that time – for keeping her own surname and maintaining her own career. At one official luncheon for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, where McTeer was seated with the guest of honour, the other women at the table teased McTeer by addressing her always as "Mrs. Clark". The Queen Mother, however, did not, and after McTeer escorted the Queen Mother to her car, the latter said "Don't be bothered by criticism," and, left as parting words: "Good Luck … Ms. McTeer."
In 1982, McTeer and athlete Abby Hoffman were among the organizers of the Esso Women's Nationals championship tournament for women's ice hockey. One of the tournament's trophies, the Maureen McTeer Trophy, is named for her. In the 1988 federal election, McTeer ran as a Progressive Conservative candidate in Carleton—Gloucester, hoping to get elected alongside her husband. Despite the party's re-election victory, McTeer was not elected in her riding. As of 2012, however, she remains the only spouse of a former Canadian Prime Minister to have run for political office herself. She is a specialist in medical law, and for a while was a member of the Royal Commission on Reproductive and Genetic Technologies (1989–1993).
The Clarks have one daughter, Catherine, who became a public figure in her own right when Clark returned to the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives in 1998.
Maureen McTeer promoted Frances Itani's novel Deafening in Canada Reads 2006. She promoted its French-language translation, Une coquille de silence, in Le combat des livres 2006. She received the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 2008.
- Residences: Homes of Canada's Leaders (1982)
- Tangled Womb: The Politics of Human Reproduction (1992)
- Parliament (1995) – translated into French as Le petit guide du système parlementaire canadien
- Tough Choices: Living and Dying in the 21st Century (1999) – translated into French as Vivre et mourir au 21e siècle: choix et enjeux
- In My Own Name: A Memoir (2003)
|[hide]Canadian federal election, 1988|
|Progressive Conservative||Maureen McTeer||23,964||37.29|
|New Democratic||Robert Cottingham||6,217||9.67|
|Christian Heritage||Terese Ferri||2,728||4.24|
|Rhinoceros||Peter Francis Godfather Quinlan||435||0.68|