Sheila Copps was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She entered politics in 1981 by becoming the first Liberal in over 50 years to represent the provincial riding of Hamilton Centre.
In 1984, Ms. Copps ran for federal office and was elected to the House of Commons for the riding of Hamilton East. She was re-elected in five successive elections.
In 1986, Ms. Copps wrote Nobody's Baby, an autobiographical look at the world of Canadian politics.
Following the 1993 federal election, Prime Minister Jean Chretien appointed Ms. Copps as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment. In that portfolio, she brought forward the strongest federal environmental assessment legislation in the world, instituted Canada's first framework for the "greening" of federal government operations, created a Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and initiated the drafting of Canada's first national legislation for the protection of endangered species.
In January 1996, Ms. Copps was named Minister of Canadian Heritage. Among her achievements, Ms. Copps has unveiled the Canada Television and Cable Production Fund for independent film and television production, brought in copyright protection for Canada's recording artists and producers and added 60,000 square kilometres of wilderness to Canada's National Parks. In June 1997, Ms. Copps was renamed Minister of Canadian Heritage by Prime Minister Chretien.
In February 2003 Ms. Copps launched her bid for the Liberal leadership in her hometown of Hamilton, at Canada's first ever Tim Horton's. Ms. Copps travelled coast-to-coast-coast, signed up over 32,000 new Party members and participated in six national debates. Even as the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin emerged as the clear winner Ms. Copps carried on with the race, injecting progressive and passionate ideas into the national dialogue.
A riding distribution took place in 2004 and Sheila's Hamilton-East riding engulfed part of fellow Liberal Tony Valeri's old riding of Stony Creek. Sheila and Valeri fought a bitter battle for the Liberal nomination of the new riding but Valeri won the nomination by a narrow margin.
Sheila has since left politics and has become a media personality. In 2004, she wrote Worth Fighting For, a memoir and scathing indictment of the Paul Martin government.
Today Sheila Copps writes a political column for Sun Media and hosts hosts a weekly syndicated radio talk show, Weekends with Sheila Copps.
Visit the Toronto Sun web site to see Ms. Copps' political column:
End Parliament's shameful gender gap
Toronto Sun - Sheila Copps, March 11, 2007
Whither the women?
Toronto Sun, By Sheila Copps
Wed, January 18, 2006