Former Prime Minister of Canada
The Right Honourable Kim Campbell was sworn in as Canada's nineteenth, and first female, Prime Minister on June 25, 1993. Trained as a lawyer and as a political scientist specializing in international politics and Soviet government, Ms. Campbell's career spans academia, the practice of law, administration, and elected office at all three levels of government. In addition, she had experience in private business ventures in Vancouver before going to Ottawa. In the short period of time that she served in Canada's highest office, Prime Minister Campbell cut the size of the federal cabinet by one third and restructured the government ministries to make them more responsive to the policy needs of the 1990's. These changes were also designed to reduce the cost of government by $3 billion over five years. Internationally, she attended major meetings including, among others, the G-7.
After serving two terms on the Vancouver School Board where she chaired the Board during the difficult restraint period of 1983, Ms. Campbell was elected to the B.C. legislature for the riding of Vancouver Point Grey in October, 1986. In October, 1988, she contested the federal election in order to support the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement. On November 21, 1988, Kim Campbell was elected Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre.
In January, 1989, Kim Campbell was appointed Minister of State for Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In that capacity, she initiated a process for resolving land claims in British Columbia whose lack of resolution was estimated to be costing more than $1 billion in deferred investment in the province's economy.
Kim Campbell became the first woman to be named Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on February 23, 1990. She served in the Justice portfolio for almost three years during which time she brought forward a broad array of legislative and policy initiatives. In 1992, Kim Campbell's successful and innovative record as Justice Minister was recognized when she was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
That Ms. Campbell's tenure in the Justice portfolio was characterized by a record quantity of legislation, much of it in highly contentious areas, was a reflection of her ability to bring together the members of a diverse caucus and find the common ground necessary to enable difficult initiatives to go forward. Her success in winning the respect of members, even when her views were different from theirs, was reflected in the fact that in the leadership campaign of 1993, more than one hundred members of her caucus supported her candidacy.
In January, 1993, Kim Campbell became the first woman to be Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veteran's Affairs. Her new responsibilities allowed Ms. Campbell to return to the issues of her first career as a political scientist and she was able to apply her deep knowledge of the Soviet bloc and strategic studies to the development of defence policy in the post cold-war world.
On March 25, 1993, Ms. Campbell announced her candidacy for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party. She was elected its leader at a national convention on June 13, 1993.
Kim Campbell was educated at the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics. In December, 1993, Ms. Campbell was elected an Honourary Fellow of the London School of Economics. She was named the 1993 Woman of the Year by Chatelaine Magazine and in May, 1994, received the Woman of Distinction Award in Vancouver.
During the spring semester of 1994, Kim Campbell was a fellow at the Institute of Politics of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She returned in the September as a fellow of the Joan Shorenstein-Barone Centre on the Press Politics and Public Policy where she will complete work on a book about her five years in Ottawa.
Since leaving office, Ms. Campbell has been invited to speak in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe. In April, 1994, she gave the Cohen Lecture on International Relations at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on the topic, "Challenges to the Democracies in the Post Cold War World". Ms. Campbell has lectured on international themes in Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Strasbourg. In June, she participated in a mock G-7 summit held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Council of the United States and Italy in Cernobbio, Italy. There she joined major world leaders in a preview of the upcoming G-7 summit in Naples. This meeting was widely publicized in Europe.
Having recently completed her four-year term as Canadian consul general in Los Angeles, Kim Campbell now resides in New York. She chairs the Council of Women World Leaders based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The Council is made up of women who have served as President or Prime Minister of their countries.
Notorious for her outspoken views, controversial opinions, and her sharp sense of humour, Kim Campbell is a powerful speaker whose appeal stretches Canada-wide and across all international borders. She speaks several languages including English, French, and Russian. You can also read about Kim Campbell in her best-selling book Time and Chance: The Political Memoirs of Canada's First Female Prime Minister.