Unlike fellow Liblogger Far and Wide, I happen to believe that the news of Sheila Copps possible entrance into the race for Liberal Party president is nothing but good news, one that we as a party can benefit from in the long-term and we should be encouraging.
Now, I'm not throwing my support behind Copps, because who knows if she'll run and who else will at the same time. But I feel that Steve is wrong - Copps experience and history within the party, and her willingness to contribute and sacrifice her time despite what occurred in the past, is a testament to her resolve that the Liberal Party needs a steady hand with new ideas but the experience and insight to push it through.
No one can really say that Copps, a former Cabinet member and Deputy Prime Minister, is simply "old school." She is known for her ideas about reform, about her drive and determination to see things through despite some overwhelming odds (though one can ask about her success rate), and what's more - she comes from a region we desperately need to win back, and she is a former caucus member that knows how it works, both in terms of organization and what it requires to get out of a rut, being elected during the 1984 debacle.
For me, a person who's home riding is in the Golden Horseshoe, it's pretty clear why someone like Copps was so important to Chretien during that era. She helped organize, win, hold, and set up candidates in the dozen or so ridings within the Golden Horseshoe (where I'm from) during the 1990's. It was her strength in the area that helped win so many of those ridings.
And these days, we in the Horseshoe are really hurting. It would do us no ill to give Copps, still a big name in the area, the LPC presidency. She knows what needs to be done here and I say give her a chance to show what she can do.
But what about new faces? you ask. Fact is, new faces to the party are great. No one denies this. But what gives anyone the idea that an inexperienced, non-insider would be better in the president's position, which requires someone who is experienced and an insider, versus an experienced insider who knows what needs to be done? It doesn't make sense to me, really. We need new faces in the ranks, to be sure - but we need an experienced hand to bring them up in the first place.
So why not Sheila Copps? She was jilted by the Party, and now she's willing to come back and work for it. That's commitment right there, and if she's willing to do that, why can't we give the same kind of commitment back?