Heritage Minister Sheila Copps has launched a long-shot bid to succeed Prime Minister Jean Chrétien when he retires, Liberal sources say.
Ms. Copps has begun lining up financial support -- particularly in the cultural community -- and putting together a campaign organization to challenge Finance Minister Paul Martin, Health Minister Allan Rock and Industry Minister Brian Tobin for the Liberal leadership.
"The decision has been made," one source close to the minister said yesterday.
Ms. Copps has talked to Mr. Chrétien about her decision and he encouraged his former deputy prime minister to enter the race to broaden the field and ensure there is a high-profile female candidate, the source said.
The Heritage Minister, who is fluently bilingual, is expecting to be shuffled out of her portfolio when the Prime Minister rearranges his front bench, a move expected within the next few months.
Ms. Copps has let it be known she'd like to be moved to an "economic" portfolio. With Mr. Tobin not likely to be dislodged from the Industry portfolio, she is eyeing Human Resources Development, which is responsible for training and skills development and has a large granting budget. Source.