Sheila Copps (1952 – )

Sheila Copps was a well-known politician, a member of the federal Liberal Party, the first woman to be Deputy Prime Minister and a holder of many federal cabinet positions (Environment, Heritage). She worked tirelessly in the areas of diversity and inclusion, protection of the environment and in support of young Canadians and women.

Her legacies are the establishment of Young Canada Works to help youth find summer employment, 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.

Sheila Copps may be best remembered for a sexist incident that took place in 1985 in parliament. During a heated Question Period, Tory MP John Crosbie told her to “just quiet down baby,” words that should never have been spoken anywhere, let alone in the nation’s legislature and particularly not to Sheila Copps, the feisty and tough representative from Hamilton Centre. Copps’ reply, “I am 32 years old. I am an elected member of Parliament from Hamilton East and I’m nobody’s baby.”

Undoubtedly, Sheila Copps as an MP likely made politicians think twice before making any remark that might have a sexist taint to it.

In recent years, Copps has been working in French and English as a journalist, broadcaster and political commentator in Ottawa where she lives with her husband, Austin Thorne. They are parents to four children and grandparents of four grandchildren.


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