Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cooper was educated at vocational school, and was a rubber worker prior to his election. He served as steward of United Rubber Workers Local 667.
Cooper first ran for the Ontario legislature in the provincial election of 1985, but finished a distant third against Liberal incumbent John Sweeney in the riding of Kitchener—Wilmot . He ran again in the 1987 provincial election, this time finishing a fairly distant second against Wilmot.
The NDP unexpectedly won a majority government in the provincial election of 1990, and Cooper defeated Liberal newcomer Carl Zehr (Sweeney had retired) by over 5,000 votes in his third attempt at office. He served as a parliamentary assistant from 1992 to 1995, and was Deputy Government Whip from 1990 to 1994. According to Eye Weekly Magazine, the Liberals allegedly made efforts to draft Cooper to their side in 1994; if so, however, they were unsuccessful.
In 1994, Cooper was one of twelve NDP MPPs to vote against a government bill introducing spousal benefits to same-sex couples. This decision cost him support within his own party.
The NDP were defeated in the 1995 provincial election and Cooper again finished third in the Kitchener—Wilmot riding, placing over 9,000 votes behind Progressive Conservative Gary Leadston. He returned to his rubber working practice after his defeat.
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