M998.51.199 | Sheila Copps, Deputy Prime Minister

Drawing, cartoon
Sheila Copps, Deputy Prime Minister
Serge Chapleau
1996, 20th century
Graphite on paper
48.1 x 35.5 cm
Gift of M. Serge Chapleau
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , politics (10928)
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Keys to History

"My first "Sheila." Shame on you Sheila Copps; you promised to abolish the GST! This cartoon opened the way for me to do at least ninety-two more showing you in the same getup. A good flash, but a hard-hitting one..."

Serge Chapleau

  • What

    During the 1993 federal election, Sheila Copps promised to resign her seat in Parliament if the Liberals did not revoke the tax on goods and services (GST). In 1996, when it was obvious that the governing Liberals had no intention of keeping their election promise, there were calls for Copps to quit and stand in a by-election. Forced to play by the rules of politics, Copps admitted in a striking statement that she could no longer "look people in the eye" over the issue. That is why certain cartoonists amused themselves by representing her with a paper bag over her head!

  • Where

    The federal riding of Hamilton East, Ontario, is one of the most industrialized in Canada. Sheila Copps's father was mayor of the city of Hamilton for several years. The 1996 bi-election was in many ways unique: one of the few in which a member of Parliament sought voter approval for a specific mandate resulting from the government's failure to keep an electoral promise.

  • When

    Sheila Copps was first elected to the House of Commons as the member for the riding of Hamilton in 1984 and reconfirmed as the MP in 1988, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000.

  • Who

    Liberal politician Sheila Copps was minister of the environment from 1993 to 1996 and minister of Canadian heritage from 1996 to 2003. Beaten by Paul Martin in the 2003 race for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, she subsequently withdrew from political life, but not before promising that she would be back.