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Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Copps and Robbers-The Liberals are jockeying to replace Chretien up north and a spot on the left has opened up with lefty Alan Rock dropping out of the race (can I call it the Invisible Leadership Campaign without sending royalties to The Note) to challange Rubinesque former finance minister Paul Martin. Sheila Copps has thrown her hat into the ring.
In the speech, Ms. Copps stakes out her ground as a left-of-centre social activist who hopes to capture the support of progressive Liberals, women and minorities, a field left open for her in the wake of the decision by Mr. Rock to withdraw from the race.
Left-of-centre? If she leaned any further to the left, she could lick the floor.
Ms. Copps points out that women make up only 21% of the elected members of the House of Commons, putting Canada 35th in the world -- after South Africa, Vietnam, Grenada, Namibia, Uganda and Pakistan, among others -- in its efforts to involve women in the national Parliament. To remedy that, Ms. Copps says, the Liberal party should set an example. "I would propose a goal that, by two elections from now, 50% of the candidates standing for Parliament for the Liberal party be women."
Ah, yes, the Vietnamese electoral system as a role model. Or the McGovernites of the 70s.
Although she is seen as a leader of the left wing of the party, in her speech today Ms. Copps goes out of her way to assure business-oriented Liberals she would not plunge the country back into a deficit.
Of course not; she'll raise takes to finance bigger government.
Ms. Copps also promises to use "the pulpit of elected office to push forward full equality for all our citizens," in particular, legal recognition of gay marriages. "To me, it is an issue of fundamental human rights," the speech says. "The role of national leaders is to say that you are full members of society, you are included, you are welcomed to be you and to be the best possible person you can be."
Does same-sex marriage help or hinder that goal? Well, this will give Martin a good foil to look like a centrist neoliberal, suggesting that the party run on a Liberal platform rather than a NDP (Canada's Socialist/Greens) program.

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