Kim Campbell

Infobox Prime Minister
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable
name = Kim Campbell
honorific-suffix = PC CC QC LLD ("hc") LLB

order = 19th
office = Prime Minister of Canada
term_start = June 25, 1993
term_end = November 4, 1993
monarch = Elizabeth II
predecessor = Brian Mulroney
successor = Jean Chrétien
constituency_MP2 = Vancouver Centre
term_start2 = 1988
term_end2 = 1993
majority2 =
predecessor2 = Pat Carney
successor2 = Hedy Fry
birth_date = birth date and age|1947|03|10
birth_place = Port Alberni, British Columbia
death_date =
death_place =
party = Progressive ConservativeSocial Credit
spouse = Nathan Divinsky - divorced, Howard Eddy - divorced, Hershey Felder - common law spouse
residence = Vancouver, British Columbia
religion = Anglican (lapsed)
profession = Lawyer, academic
children = none
alma_mater = University of British Columbia, London School of Economics

Avril Phaedra Douglas "Kim" Campbell, PC,CC, QC, (born March 10, 1947) was the nineteenth Prime Minister of Canada, serving from June 25, 1993 to November 4, 1993.

Campbell was the first — and so far only — female Prime Minister of Canada, the first baby boomer Prime Minister and the first Prime Minister born in British Columbia. She was only the second woman in history to sit at the table of the Group of Eight leaders, after British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the third woman to serve as a head of government in North America, after Eugenia Charles of Dominica and Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua.

Personal background

Campbell was born in Port Alberni, British Columbia to George Thomas Campbell (1920–2002) and Phyllis "Lisa" Cook. Her mother left the family when Campbell was 12, leaving Kim and her sister Alix to be raised by their father. As a teenager, Avril permanently nicknamed herself Kim, perhaps for actress Kim Novak [Gordon Donaldson, "The Prime Ministers of Canada," (Toronto: Doubleday Canada Limited, 1997), p. 351.] , as well as because "Kim" resembles the first syllable of "Campbell" said in a Highlander accent.

While in her pre-teens, Campbell was a host and reporter on the CBC children's program "Junior Television Club" [ [ Introducing Avril Campbell - Kim Campbell, First and Foremost - CBC Archives ] ] .

She and her family moved to Vancouver, and Campbell attended Prince of Wales Secondary School. She became the school's first female student president, and graduated in 1964.

University, early career

She earned an honours B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1969 with straight first-class marks in her final year. She was active in the student government at UBC, serving as the school's first female president of the freshman class. She then completed a year of graduate study at UBC, to qualify for doctoral-level studies ("Time And Chance", by Kim Campbell, 1996, pp. 17-23). Campbell entered the London School of Economics in 1970 to study towards her doctorate in Soviet Government, and spent three months touring the Soviet Union, from April to June 1972. She had spent several years studying the Russian language, and was close to being fluent ("Time and Chance", by Kim Campbell, 1996, pp. 26-37). Campbell ultimately left her doctoral studies unfinished, returning to live in Vancouver after marrying Nathan Divinsky, her longtime boyfriend, in 1972. She earned, in 1983, an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia. She was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1984 and practiced law in Vancouver until 1986.


Campbell married Nathan Divinsky, a university professor, author, television personality, and chess master, in 1972. During their marriage, Campbell lectured part-time in political science at the University of British Columbia and at Vancouver Community College. While still attending law school, she entered politics as a trustee on the Vancouver School Board, becoming, in 1983, the chair of that board and serving in 1984 as its vice-chair. She once claimed to have told the board to "back off" although others alleged that she had said "(Expletive)" off!", which author Gordon Donaldson compares to Pierre Trudeau's "fuddle duddle" incident. [Donaldson, p. 354.] In total, she was a trustee there from 1980 to 1984 (Divinsky also had been chair). Campbell and Divinsky were divorced in 1983, and Campbell married Howard Eddy in 1986, a marriage that lasted until shortly before she became prime minister. Campbell is the second Prime Minister of Canada to have been divorced, after Pierre Trudeau.

She briefly dated Gregory Lekhtman, the inventor of Exerlopers, during her term as Prime Minister, but kept the relationship relatively private and did not involve him in the election campaign.

She is currently in a common law marriage to Hershey Felder, an actor, playwright, composer, and concert pianist. Though she has no children of her own, she remains close to Nathan Divinsky's daughter Pamela.

The couple currently reside in Paris, France.

Political life

Campbell was the unsuccessful BC Social Credit Party candidate in Vancouver Centre for a seat in the British Columbia Legislative Assembly in 1983, capturing 12,740 votes (19.3% in a double member riding). Campbell ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of the BC Social Credit Party in the summer of 1986 (placing last with fewer than a dozen votes from delegates), but was elected in October 1986 to the British Columbia Legislative Assembly as a Socred member for Vancouver-Point Grey, capturing 19,716 votes (23.2%, also in a double member riding)

A few years later, Campbell resigned from the legislature to run in the 1988 federal election as a Progressive Conservative in Vancouver Centre, in downtown Vancouver. She won and immediately joined the cabinet, becoming Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (1989-1990), and later became Canada's first female Minister of Justice and Attorney-General (1990-1993). She was then appointed as the first female Minister of National Defence after Mulroney shuffled his cabinet in 1993.

In February, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced his retirement from politics. Campbell defeated Jean Charest at the Progressive Conservative leadership convention that June, and Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn formally appointed her Prime Minister on June 25. As a concession to Charest, Campbell appointed him to the posts of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Science and Technology, the first a largely symbolic, and the second a significant, cabinet portfolio.

Also in 1993, Campbell and Eddy were divorced, although the divorce was finalized before she was sworn in as Prime Minister.

In an unrelated story, Campbell was the Canadian Justice Minister at the time of David Milgaard's release from prison after serving 23 years for a crime he did not commit. In her time as Justice Minister, Campbell repressed several appeal requests from Milgaard's lawyers, and also disregarded a public address from Milgaard's mother, Joyce Milgaard. She came under heavy criticism for her position.

Prime Ministership

Campbell's career was characterized by some as "a quick rise to fame from a relatively unknown cabinet member to prime minister." In fact, she had served in four cabinet portfolios prior to running for the party leadership and had more experience than eleven of the 18 men who preceded her as prime minister, including Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, who had no cabinet experience at all, and Pierre Trudeau, who had served only one year as Minister of Justice. Campbell had developed a considerable profile during her three years as Minister of Justice and garnered support of more than half the PC caucus when she declared for the leadership.

Campbell did extensive campaigning during the summer, touring the nation and attending barbecues and other events. By the end of the summer, her personal popularity had increased greatly, far surpassing that of Liberal Party leader Jean Chrétien. [Woolstencroft 15.] Support for the Progressive Conservative Party had also increased, and they were only a few points behind the Liberals, while the Reform Party had been reduced to single digits.

Campbell also became the only Canadian Prime Minister not to have resided at 24 Sussex Drive since that address became the official home of the Prime Minister of Canada in 1951. Initially, Campbell's predecessor Brian Mulroney remained at 24 Sussex while renovations on his new home in Montreal were being completed. Campbell instead took up residence at Harrington Lake, and did not move into 24 Sussex after Mulroney left.

The 1993 election

When an election was called in the fall of 1993, the party had high hopes that it would be able to remain in power and, if not, would at least be a strong opposition to a Liberal minority government.

However, Campbell's initial popularity soon declined due to public-relations mistakes committed after the writ was dropped. When she was running for the party leadership, Campbell's frank honesty was seen as an important asset and a sharp contrast from Mulroney's highly-polished style. However, that backfired when she told reporters at a Rideau Hall event that it was unlikely that the deficit or unemployment would be much reduced before the "end of the century." During the election campaign, she stated that discussing a complete overhaul of Canada's social policies in all their complexities could not be done in just 47 days (the time allotted to an election campaign). However, a reporter truncated this comment to "an election is no time to discuss serious issues."

Some have attempted to point to her gender as a major contributing factor to her historic loss, but there is scant evidence to support that assertion. Analysis of the press coverage of the campaign reveals that a constant theme of the coverage itself was its unfairness. Journalists wrote openly about the double standard applied to Campbell, but there was little or no attempt to analyze why this was the case. Scholarly analysis by experts such as Richard Johnston of the University of British Columbia asserts that Campbell's "47 days" comment (a response to a journalist's attempt to charge her with a hidden agenda) was not the key factor in the vote decline, but was made after the trend had shifted. Rather, the attempt to attribute a hidden agenda on social programs to her in and of itself reminded voters of what they believed about Mulroney – that he would say one thing but do another. Without time to establish a new record for her government, Campbell remained vulnerable to the negative perceptions people had of her predecessor.

The Conservatives' support tailed off rapidly as the campaign progressed. By October, it was obvious that Campbell and the Tories would not be re-elected. All polls showed the Liberals were on their way to at least a minority government, and would probably win a majority without dramatic measures. However, Campbell was still personally more popular than Chrétien. Knowing this, the Conservative campaign team put together a series of ads attacking the Liberal leader. The second ad appeared to mock Chrétien's Bell's Palsy facial paralysis, and generated a severe backlash from all sides. Even some Tory candidates called for the ad to be pulled from the air. Campbell claims to have not been directly responsible for the ad, and to have ordered it off the air [Donaldson, p. 367.] over her staff's objections. However, she did not apologize and thus lost a chance to contain the fallout from the ad.

The ad flap was widely regarded as the final nail in Campbell's prime ministerial coffin. Conservative support plummeted into the teens, all but assuring that the Liberals would win a majority government short of a complete meltdown in the dying days of the campaign. Canadian humourist Will Ferguson suggested that this incident meant Campbell should receive "some of the blame" for her party's losses, though "taking over the party leadership from Brian (Mulroney) was a lot like taking over the controls of a 747 just before it plunges into the Rockies." [Will Ferguson, "Bastards and Boneheads: Canada's Glorious Leaders Past and Present" (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1999), p. 284.]

The Somalia Affair took place during her "watch" as Minister of National Defence and became a handicap during her subsequent period of public life. When the Liberal Party of Canada took power, the incident became the subject of a lengthy public inquiry, aimed further at embarrassing Campbell and the PCs.Fact|date=July 2008

On election night, the Conservatives were swept from power in a massive Liberal landslide. Campbell herself was defeated in Vancouver Centre by rookie Liberal Hedy Fry. It was only the third time in Canadian history that a sitting prime minister was unseated at the same time that his or her party lost an election. In 1921, Arthur Meighen was unseated in his Manitoba riding at the same time that his Conservatives were defeated; this recurred in 1926 to end his second brief tenure as prime minister. Mackenzie King led the Liberals to victory in the 1925 election, but lost his seat and had to win a by-election to get back into Parliament. Except for Jean Charest, every Cabinet member running for re-election lost their seat. With few exceptions, the Tories' previous support in the west moved to Reform, while the Bloc Québécois inherited most Tory support in Quebec. In some cases, the Bloc pushed Cabinet ministers from Quebec into third place.

The Tories still finished with over two million votes, taking third place in the popular vote, and falling only two percentage points short of Reform for second place. However, due to quirks in the first past the post system, Tory support was not concentrated in enough areas to translate into victories in individual ridings. In contrast, the geographic concentration of support for Reform in the West and the Bloc in Quebec garnered them significant numbers of parliamentary seats. As a result, the Tories won only two seats compared to Reform's 52 and the Bloc's 54. It was the worst defeat in party history, and the worst defeat ever suffered by a governing party at the federal level.

Campbell faced hurdles that she blamed as being insurmountable despite evidence to the contrary. Mulroney left office as one of the most (and according to Campbell, the most [ [ Canada Still Has Mulroney to Kick Around - New York Times ] ] ) unpopular prime ministers since opinion polling began in the 1940s. He considerably hampered his own party's campaign effort by staging a very lavish international farewell tour at taxpayer expense and staying in office until only two and a half months were left in his mandate. Under the circumstances, Campbell came into office with almost no room to make mistakes. Nonetheless, Campbell's pre-election summer tour did put the Progressive Conservatives back up in the polls to only a few points behind the Liberals.

By the time she dropped the writ for the 1993 election, she was only a few days from becoming the first prime minister to allow a Parliament to expire. Another factor was that the race was a five-way contest with Reform and the Bloc competing with the three traditional parties for votes. There was no issue like the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement five years earlier to make support for such parties seem risky.

Soon after the defeat, Campbell resigned as party leader; Jean Charest succeeded her.

Post-political career

Campbell returned to lecturing in political science for a few years, this time at Harvard University. Then, in 1996, the Liberal government that had defeated Campbell's appointed her Consul General to Los Angeles, a post in which she remained until 2000. She still sits on the Board of Advisors for the UCLA School of Public Affairs.

She published an autobiography, "Time and Chance", (ISBN 0-770-42738-3) in 1996. The book became a national bestseller in Canada.

In 1997, Campbell collaborated with her third husband, composer, playwright and actor Hershey Felder, on the production of a musical, "Noah's Ark" in Los Angeles. From 2001 to 2004, she lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She continues as an Honorary Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School. She also is the director of several publicly traded companies in high technology and biotechnology.

From 1999 to 2003 she chaired the Council of Women World Leaders, a network of women who hold or have held the office of president or prime minister. She was succeeded by former Irish President Mary Robinson. From 2003 until 2005 she served as President of the International Women's Forum, a global organization of women of preeminent achievement whose headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

Campbell serves on the Board of the International Crisis Group and the Forum of Federations, and is on the advisory bodies of numerous international organizations. In 2004, she was included in the list of 50 most important political leaders in history in the "Almanac of World History" compiled by the National Geographic Society. She was cited for her status as the only woman head of government of a North American country (defined variously), but controversy ensued among academics in Canada over the merit of this honour since she had not won an election and because many senior ministers in the Mulroney government had not contested the leadership convention.

She was a founding member of the Club of Madrid, an independent organization whose main purpose is to strengthen democracy in the world. Its membership is by invitation only and consists of former Heads of State and Government. In 2004 Campbell assumed the role of Secretary General of the organization.

On 30 November 2004, Campbell's official portrait for the parliamentary Prime Minister's gallery was unveiled. The painting was created by Victoria, British Columbia artist David Goatley. Kim Campbell said she was "deeply honoured" to be the only woman to have her picture in the Prime Ministers' corridor, stating: "I really look forward to the day when there are many other female faces." The painting shows a pensive Campbell sitting on a chair with richly coloured Haida capes and robes in the background, symbolizing her time as a cabinet minister and as an academic. The unveiling took place amidst protests against President George W. Bush's state visit to Canada. [cite web|url = |title = Kim Campbell's official portrait unveiled in Ottawa |accessdate = 2008-06-25 |author = CBC News]

During the 2006 election campaign, Campbell endorsed the candidacy of Tony Fogarassy, the Conservative candidate in Campbell's former riding of Vancouver Centre. Campbell also clarified to reporters that she is a supporter of the new Conservative Party. Fogarassy lost the election, placing a distant third.

Campbell now lives in France and recently joined the Board of Trustees of the Ukrainian Foundation for Effective Governance, an NGO formed in September 2007 with the aid of Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov [ [ Reuters, "Shimon Peres talks, via video conference, of strong relationship between Israel and Ukraine", Feb 4, 2008] ] .


As Justice Minister, Campbell brought about a new rape law that clarified sexual assault and whose passage firmly entrenched that in cases involving sexual assault, "no means NO." She also introduced the rape shield law, legislation that protects a woman's sexual past from being explored during trial. While Campbell had little time to usher in legislation during her six months as Prime Minister, she did implement radical changes to the structure of the Canadian government. Under her tenure, the federal cabinet's size was cut from over seventy-five cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries to just twenty-three. The number of cabinet committees was reduced from eleven to five. She was also the first prime minister to convene a First Ministers' conference for consultation prior to representing Canada at the G7 Summit. Due to her brief time in office, Campbell holds a unique spot amongst Canadian prime ministers in that she made no Senate appointments.

Campbell has harshly criticized Mulroney for not handing power to her sooner than June 1993. In her view, when she finally became prime minister, she had almost no time or chance to make up ground on the Liberals once her initial popularity wore off. In her memoirs, "Time and Chance" as well as her response to "The Secret Mulroney Tapes," Campbell even suggested that Mulroney knew the Tories would be defeated in the upcoming election, and wanted a "scapegoat who would bear the burden of his unpopularity" rather than a true successor. The cause of the 1993 debacle remains disputed, with some arguing that the election results were a vote against Mulroney rather than a rejection of Campbell, and others suggesting that the poorly-run Campbell campaign was the key factor in the result.

Although the Progressive Conservatives survived as a distinct political party for another ten years after the 1993 debacle, they never recovered their previous standing. During that period they were led by Jean Charest (1993-1998) and then, for the second time, by Joe Clark (1998-2003). By then the party had voted to merge with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003, thus formally ceasing to exist. Joe Clark continued to sit as a "Progressive Conservative" into 2004, and the new brand of Conservatives gained power in the election of 2006, thus the "Tory" nickname lives on in the federal politics of Canada.

Campbell remains one of the youngest women to have ever assumed the office of Prime Minister in any country, and thus also one of the youngest to have left the office.


According to Canadian protocol, as a former Prime Minister, she is styled "The Right Honourable" for life.
* Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
* Queen's Counsel
* 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal
* Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
* Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics
* Honorary Fellow of the Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
* Member of the Club of Madrid [cite web|url = |title = Home - Club of Madrid - Democracy that Delivers |accessdate = 2008-06-25] .
*Appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada on Canada Day 2008 [en [ The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members – 66 democratic former heads of state and government.]

Honorary degrees

* The Law Society of Upper Canada (LL.D) (1991)
* Brock University (LL.D) (1998)
* Northeastern University, Boston (DPS) (1999)
* University of British Columbia (LL.D) (23 November 2000) [cite web|url = |title = UBC Archives - Honorary Degree Citations - 2000-02 |accessdate = 2008-06-25]
* Mount Holyoke College (LL.D) (2004)
* Chatham College (LL.D) (2005)
* Arizona State University (D.Litt) (December 2005) [cite web|url = |title = ASU News > Browne, Campbell honored at commencement ceremony |accessdate = 2008-06-25]

ee also

* Time and Chance (book)


External links

* [ Political Biography from the Library of Parliament]
* [ Biography from the Kennedy School of Government]
* [ 2004 commencement speech, Mount Holyoke College]
* Grace Stewart, Heather. "Kim Campbell: the keener who broke down barriers" (2007) ISBN 978-0-9736407-0-0 Jackfruit Press,
* [ CBC Digital Archives – Kim Campbell, First and Foremost]
* [ Official page of the documentary film "Kim Campbell:Through the Looking Glass"]

succession box
title=Canadian order of precedence
years=as of 2007
before=Brian Mulroney
after=Jean Chrétien


NAME=Campbell, Avril Phaedra Douglas
SHORT DESCRIPTION=19th Prime Minister of Canada (1993)
DATE OF BIRTH=March 10, 1947
PLACE OF BIRTH=Port Alberni, British Columbia

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