Campbell, Kim

Campbell, Kim
orig. Avril Phaedra Campbell

born March 10, 1947, Port Alberni, B.C., Can.

Prime minister of Canada (1993).

She taught political science at the University of British Columbia and practiced law for two years before turning to politics. In 1988 she was elected to the federal parliament as a Progressive Conservative. Under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, she became minister for Indian affairs (1989), attorney general (1990), and defense minister (1993). Upon Mulroney's retirement in June 1993, she became Canada's first female prime minister and the first prime minister from the West Coast. Her tenure was brief; in November her party suffered a heavy defeat, and she resigned as party leader.

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▪ 1994

      On June 25, 1993, Kim Campbell fulfilled a lifelong ambition by becoming the first woman to serve as prime minister of Canada. Her tenure, however, was brief. Not even 4 1/2 months after replacing (June 13) Brian Mulroney as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Campbell and her party suffered a crushing defeat in the October 25 general elections. The Conservatives won only two seats in the House of Commons, and Campbell herself lost her seat. Soon after Liberal leader Jean Chrétien (q.v.) was sworn in as the new prime minister, Campbell resigned (December 13) as leader of the Conservatives.

      A political moderate in the tradition of Edmund Burke, Campbell viewed politics as the art of the possible. She was noted for her moderate, middle-of-the-road positions on issues. As minister of justice, she successfully dealt with such controversial issues as abortion, sexual abuse, and gun control.

      Avril Phaedra Campbell was born March 10, 1947, in Port Alberni, B.C. After receiving a degree in political science from the University of British Columbia (1969), she attended (1970-73) the London School of Economics on a fellowship. In 1983 she obtained a law degree from the University of British Columbia. Campbell, often described as ambitious, centred her career around politics and was elected a Vancouver school trustee in 1980. As chairman (1983) and vice-chairman (1984) of the Vancouver School Board, she gained a reputation for endorsing moderate fiscal policies. In British Columbian provincial politics, Campbell was associated with the Social Credit Party. She served as key policy adviser to Premier Bill Bennett before she won a seat in the Legislative Assembly (1986). In that same year she ran for the leadership of the Social Credit Party but lost. In 1988 Campbell turned her attention to federal politics and the Progressive Conservative Party. That year she was elected to the House of Commons, representing the British Columbian riding of Vancouver Centre.

      Campbell's mentor, Prime Minister Mulroney, saw her as a possible successor and fostered her career in Parliament. As a member of the Cabinet, she was named minister of state for Indian affairs and northern development (1989), minister of justice and attorney general of Canada (1990), and minister of defense and minister of veterans affairs (1993). Mulroney had brought her into the inner Cabinet in 1990 as a member of the Expenditure Review Committee. She was also placed in charge of patronage for her home province of British Columbia. In 1993 Mulroney named Campbell a member of the Operations Committee of the Cabinet, which made decisions on all major bills, communications strategies, and political planning. Even though Campbell became an international media celebrity in 1992 when a photograph was published showing her with bare shoulders and holding her lawyer's robes before her, she did not flinch over the controversy but remained steadfast in becoming Conservative Party leader. (DIANE LOIS WAY)

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▪ prime minister of Canada
byname of  Avril Phaedra Campbell  
born March 10, 1947, Port Alberni, B.C., Can.
 Canadian politician, who in June 1993 became the first woman to serve as prime minister of Canada. Her tenure was brief, however, lasting only until November.

      Campbell was educated at the University of British Columbia (B.A., 1969) and at the London School of Economics, where she studied Soviet government. She taught political science for six years before returning to the University of British Columbia to pursue a law degree; upon graduation in 1983 she practiced law in Vancouver for two years before devoting herself full-time to a political career.

      In Vancouver Campbell served on the city school board and was chair for a period. She ran unsuccessfully as a candidate of the Social Credit Party for the British Columbia provincial legislature in 1983 and in May 1986 was defeated in a bid for the Social Credit provincial leadership. In October 1986, however, she won a seat in the provincial legislature as the Social Credit member for a Vancouver riding. Two years later, she switched parties and was elected to the federal parliament as a Progressive Conservative (Progressive Conservative Party of Canada). In 1989 Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (Mulroney, Brian) appointed her minister for Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In 1990 she became justice minister and attorney general; her tenure was marked by several legislative successes, including strengthening Canada's gun-control laws and passing a tough rape law. Her appointment as defense minister in January 1993 was seen as a signal of Mulroney's confidence in her political future, especially when he announced his own retirement shortly thereafter. Campbell was selected by a party convention to replace Mulroney and became Canada's first woman prime minister, in June 1993. In November the Progressive Conservatives suffered a devastating electoral defeat (the party won only two seats and Campbell failed to carry her own Vancouver riding), and she left office. The following month she resigned as party leader.

      Following her retirement from active politics, Campbell became a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. From 1996 to 2000 she served as the Canadian consul-general in Los Angeles. Afterward, she resumed her fellowship at Harvard, and from 2004 to 2006 she served as secretary-general for the Club of Madrid, a group she helped found, which includes former heads of government and attempts to enhance democracy throughout the world. She was active in various nongovernmental organizations, including the International Crisis Group and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. Her autobiography, Time and Chance, was published in 1996.

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Universalium. 2010.

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