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.
Following the 1993 federal election, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien 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 Chrétien.
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.
Ms. Copps earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) Degree in French and English, from the University of Western Ontario in London, and pursued further studies at McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Rouen in France. She worked as a newspaper journalist, both with the Hamilton Spectator and the Ottawa Citizen. In 1998, Ms. Copps received an Honourary Doctorate in Law from the Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia, in recognition of her efforts to promote bilingualism and her commitment to advancing the French language and culture in Canada. In 1986, Ms. Copps wrote Nobody's Baby, an autobiographical look at the world of Canadian politics.
Ms. Copps has retired from elected politics, and just completed "Worth Fighting For", a book that will pick up her story where the last book ended. Watch for in in the fall of 2004.
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