Born near Glendon, Alberta and later raised in Edmonton, Kopala studied at the University of Alberta, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English literature Bachelor of Fine Arts in drama. Moving to the United Kingdom, she worked as a secretary and production assistant for the British Broadcasting Corporation; later back in Canada, she worked in Canadian feature film production. She moved to Ottawa in 1986.
She became president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada riding association in Ottawa West. In the 1997 federal election, she was the Progressive Conservative candidate in Ottawa West—Nepean, finishing third.
In 2002, she sought a seat representing Ontario on the Canadian Alliance National Council.
In the 2005 run-up to what became the 2006 federal election, Kopala sought the nomination of the Conservative Party of Canada, the result of the merger of the Alliance and PC parties, in Ottawa West—Nepean. Member of Provincial Parliament and former provincial cabinet minister John Baird and party members Ed Mahfouz and Ade Olumide also sought the nomination, as did social conservative activist John Pacheco until he was disqualified. Baird won the nomination.