Her father was one of Hamilton, Ont.’s most popular mayors, a man noted for his Catholic beliefs and leadership in the pro-life Catholic men’s organization the Knights of Columbus.

Her mother was similarly a highly regarded city councillor, who among other things, spoke against the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood organization when it came to city council seeking public funding.

She is a product of the Catholic school system, and even went back to her alma mater to speak to a student assembly. She is widely supported in Hamilton’s Catholic community, with her controller serving as a caretaker in a local church and at least one of her assistants being a parishioner of that same parish.

Pretty good credentials, you would think, for an MP who is seeking leadership of the Liberal party of Canada, and thus the prime ministership, to serve as a beacon of Catholic, Christian and pro-life beliefs in the political sphere.

Unfortunately, Sheila Copps seems to be anything but.

When the long-time member of Parliament for Hamilton East announced her candidacy to succeed Jean Chretien when he steps down sometime in the near future, she declared that she would make gay “marriage” and a dramatic increase in the number of women in politics key parts of her platform.

“To me, it is an issue of fundamental human rights,” she said of gay “marriage” in a recent speech. “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.”

Copps’s latest statements should come as no surprise to those who have kept an eye on the former “Rat Pack” member for any length of time. A story on Canada.com a year ago told of her holding private meetings with homosexual activists.

She was reported by the Toronto Star in February 1988 as urging the federal health minister to withhold payments to provinces that did not cover abortions under their health-care programs. A month later, the Halifax Star said she appeared at a news conference with notorious homosexual MP Svend Robinson to promote “gay rights.”

Copps, who is on her third marriage, told Southam News in August 1989 that she wanted to see a law that gave women “freedom of choice” in the first trimester of pregnancy, with restrictions in the second and a ban in the third. In March 1990, she reiterated that she favoured a law allowing abortions in the early stages of pregnancy, but prohibiting them at some later stage.

In November 2000, Copps was reported by the Hamilton Spectator to be attacking the Alliance party because it “wants to take away a woman’s right to choose.”

Although considered pro-abortion by Campaign Life Coalition, the national pro-life organization that monitors politicians’ attitudes toward life issues, a Hamilton East resident says Copps soft-pedals her pro-abortion leanings and is evasive when approached about life-related issues. Betty Savelli told The Interim that Copps is usually conveniently absent from her constituency office.

Some speculate that that may be out of an effort to maintain her good, though perhaps undeserved, standing among Hamilton East’s Catholic constituency.