Sheila Copps (1952 - )
Sheila Copps is one of Canada’s foremost female politicians, known for being feisty and tough. Copps was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy Prime Minister and served for ten years in the federal cabinet as Minister of the Environment and Minister of Canadian Heritage.
- Copps entered politics in 1981 by becoming the first Liberal in over 50 years to represent the provincial riding of Hamilton Centre. In 1984, she was elected MP for the riding of Hamilton East and was re-elected five times in a row.
- Copps has a B.A. in French and English from the University of Western Ontario and studied at McMaster University and the University of Rouen in France. She received an Honourary Doctorate in Law from 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.
- She brought forward the strongest federal environmental assessment legislation in the world, established Young Canada Works to provide summer jobs for youth, brought in copyright protection for Canadian recording artists and led Ministers of Culture from over 50 nations in the development of the first ever International Network on Cultural Diversity.
- Copps faced a great deal of sexism while in politics. For example, Conservative MP John Crosbie told her “Quiet down, baby” during a lively debate. Copps responded by saying, “I’m nobody’s baby.”
- Since she left politics in 2004, Copps has been working both in French and English as a journalist, broadcaster and political commentator. She is the author of two books: Nobody’s Baby and Worth Fighting For. Copps lives in Ottawa.