Kim Campbell

First woman to serve as Prime Minister of Canada (1993); elected provincially to the Legislative Assembly (1986)

Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell was born in Port Alberni, British Columbia. She moved to Vancouver for secondary school and later attended the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics.

In 1980, Campbell entered municipal politics, winning election to the Vancouver School Board. She served as a trustee while completing a law degree at the University of British Columbia. Campbell was called to the bar in 1984 and practised law in Vancouver.

In 1986, Campbell entered the provincial political scene, winning election to the Legislative Assembly as the Social Credit Party candidate for the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.

She was soon recruited by the federal Progressive Conservative Party and, in 1988, was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver Centre. Following her election, Campbell was appointed to various cabinet portfolios. As the first woman to serve as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, she introduced changes to gun control and sexual assault legislation.

In 1993, Campbell was elected to lead the Progressive Conservative Party. By winning leadership of the governing party of the day, she achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Canada. While Campbell’s government was ultimately defeated in the general election later that year, she had forged a new path for women in public life. Reflecting later on this accomplishment, Campbell admitted she would be “prouder still to say I was Canada’s tenth woman Prime Minister.”

Campbell is a prominent public speaker on issues related to international politics, democratization, climate change and gender, and is the Founding Principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta.