APTN National News
OTTAWA--A high profile First Nations leader is backing former cabinet minister Sheila Copps in her bid to become president of the beleaguered federal Liberal party.
Ovide Mercredi, a former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, wrote in a Dec. 8, 2011, letter to Copps that he was supporting her bid because the former deputy prime minister would help the Liberal party “work more closely with First Nations in our pursuit of freedom, fairness and justice.”
Copps is running against four other people for the presidency of a party that was once the dominant force in Canadian politics. It was reduced to third-place status after the May federal election gave the Conservatives a majority government and the NDP the role of Official Opposition.
“Sheila Copps has always fought injustice and stood up for her beliefs,” wrote Mercredi, who is currently a band councillor for Misipawistik Cree Nation in Manitoba. “Ms. Copps has shown that politics is a means to an end: A Canada that is free to pursue its destiny and fair in the treatment of all its people.”
Copps’ campaign team issued a statement saying Mercredi’s endorsement “is a validation of Sheila’s commitment to First Nations and a better Canada for all.”
Copps is facing Mike Crawley, Ron Hartling, Alexandra Medes and Charles Ward in the race for the Liberal party presidency which will be decided in Ottawa next weekend during the party’s biannual convention.