Educated: BA from the University of Western Ontario.
Private career: Had stints as a journalist in Hamilton and Ottawa.
Provincial politics: Ran unsuccessfully for an Ontario legislature seat in 1977. Took a job working with then-Liberal leader Stuart Smith. Won a seat in 1981 and lost a bid for the Liberal leadership in 1982. Jumped to federal politics in 1984.
Federal politics: Went against the tide and won a seat in the House of Commons in the Brian Mulroney 1984 Conservative landslide election. Along with a handful of other young, Liberal MPs, she was part of what was known as the "Rat Pack," named for their aggressive needling in question period. Published an autobiography, "Nobody's Baby," in 1986. Re-elected in 1988. Lost a leadership bid in 1990. Re-elected as part of a Liberal government in 1993, named deputy prime minister and environment minister.
Resigned her seat in 1996 over the GST and was re-elected in subsequent byelection. Elected again in 1997 and became heritage minister. Re-elected 2000. Ran for leadership again and lost. Lost a nomination fight after a riding redistribution.
After politics: Worked as a columnist and radio host, wrote a second biography, "Worth Fighting For," in 2004. Lost a bid for president of the Liberal party in 2012, and announced she was leaving politics. Named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2012.
Personal: Lives in Ottawa with husband Austin Thorne. They have four children and four grandchildren.
Quotes: Copps had a memorable Commons exchange with then-cabinet minister John Crosbie after he told her: "Just quieten down, baby." She glared and said, icily: "I'm nobody's baby." She once labelled another cabinet minister "Scrooge" and called Brian Mulroney a "slimebag."