A prominent figure in Hamilton politics says the city is ready for its first woman mayor and says Andrea Horwath is the right person for that job.
Former deputy prime minister and former Liberal MP Sheila Copps said she reached out of her own volition to offer her endorsement.
“I saw the race unfolding, and I’m quite serious about the need for women in leadership roles, it’s been part of my life’s work,” Copps said during a media availability on Friday morning.
“I also saw Andrea both as a city politician, but also in her work as an NDP member and a leader at Queen’s Park. She’s a collaborative leader, and she knows how to work together with people. I think divisions bring cities down, unity brings cities up, and I think she can really do that.”
Horwath and Copps appeared together down at Pier 8 next to HMCS Haida, which is docked in Hamilton primarily thanks to Copps’ involvement.
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“I’m honoured to receive the endorsement of Sheila Copps,” said Horwath. “She’s obviously a woman who has brought her strong voice, her passion, her insights, her vision to our city. And the Copps family, of course, has really had an indelible mark on the history of Hamilton.”
Copps’ father was mayor of Hamilton between 1962 and 1976, while Copps’ mother served on city council from 1985 to 2000.
Copps said provincial and federal parties have been working over the years to have a fairly balanced gender representation but it’s a different story in municipal politics.
“At the city level in Canada, we have the lowest representation of women of any level of political culture,” she said.
“Hamilton is one of the oldest, most established cities in Canada, and it’s incredible to think that we’ve never had a woman as mayor. So this is an opportunity to send a message to the rest of the country, too, that city hall is going to catch up with those political parties and start electing a better equal representation.”
Copps’ endorsement comes just days before Horwath is set to release her campaign platform for the October election.
Of the nine candidates registered to run for mayor, Horwath is the only woman.
The other candidates are former mayor and former Liberal MP Bob Bratina, former chamber of commerce CEO Keanin Loomis, Ejaz Butt, Paul Fromm, Jim Davis, Solomon Ikhuiwu, Hermiz Ishaya and Michael Pattison.