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Kim Campbell

The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell
Term:June 25 - November 4, 1993
Predecessor:Brian Mulroney
Successor:Jean Chrétien
Date of Birth:March 10, 1947
Place of Birth:Port Alberni, British Columbia
Political Party:Progressive Conservative

Kim Campbell was the nineteenth Prime Minister of Canada from June 25 to November 4, 1993. She was born Avril Phaedra Douglas Campbell on March 10, 1947, but was not particularly fond of any of her given names, and consequently adopted the first name Kim in her teens. She was educated at the University of British Columbia (B.A., LL.B.) and obtained a doctorate at the London School of Economics. She entered politics with Vancouver School Board, and lectured in political science.

Campbell was first elected to the Canadian House of Parliament in 1988, Campbell was Canada's first female Minister of Justice (1990-1993), then briefly became the first female Minister of Defence before assuming the mantle of the first female Prime Minister of Canada, succeeding Brian Mulroney when he resigned as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1993. Campbell's quick rise to fame from a relatively unknown cabinet member to Prime Minister of the country came as a bit of a shock to many Canadians. The fact that she was a woman initially made her very popular, and for a while it seemed that she might have a chance of repairing the Conservative party's reputation, which had been badly damaged after a number of scandals during the Mulroney government. Accordingly, an election was quickly called, and the new Prime Minister hoped to ride this wave of popularity to an electoral victory.

However, Campbell's initial popularity soon wore off. The prime minister appeared to have troubles relating to "regular" Canadians, and many felt that she had an overly condescending and pretentious tone. She once famously quipped that an election was "no time to discuss serious issues."

Campbell also had a continual habit of making public relations blunders. A Conservative election commercial in which Liberal leader Jean Chrétien's facial paralysis was mocked was largely regarded as the final nail in her campaign's coffin.

In the 1993 election, all but two of the Conservative party's candidates lost their seats to a massive Liberal landslide, and Campbell herself failed to hold onto her Vancouver riding. Although many pundits saw the unprecedented scope of her defeat as a reflection of the unpopularity of her predecessor Mulroney (rather than as a rejection of Campbell per se), nevertheless she quickly resigned her position as party leader.

Campbell returned to lecturing in political science for a few years, this time at Harvard. Then, in 1996, the Liberal government that had defeated Campbell appointed her as Consul General to Los Angeles, a post she remained in until 2000.

In 1997 Campbell collaborated with common-law husband Hershey Felder on the production of a musical, Noah's Ark in Los Angeles. In 2002 she lectures at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is also Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, a network organised by the Kennedy School.

Preceded by:
Brian Mulroney
Prime Minister of Canada Followed by:
Jean Chrétien