Kim Campbell

Prime Minister of Canada • June 1993 to November 1993

When Brian Mulroney announced his resignation in 1993, she put her name in, and won — becoming the first-ever female Prime Minister of Canada.

It’s no surprise Kim Campbell was known as an overachiever even in the early days of her childhood. At just 12-years-old, she appeared on CBC as a child actor on the Junior Television Club.

Campbell was born in Port Alberni, British Columbia in 1947. Her parents named her Avril Phaedra Douglas Campbell. When Campbell’s mother left when she was 12-years-old – ten years before she would see her again – Campbell went by the name of Kim.

She was on student council at nearly every stage in her educational career, and was the first female president of the University of British Columbia’s freshman class.

She was elected as a trustee for the Vancouver School Board while attending law school, and became the board chair just a few years later.

She’s one of very few people who has run to become the leader of both a federal and a provincial political party.

Campbell was elected as a member of Parliament in 1988 in Vancouver Centre. She was appointed to cabinet shortly after.

When Brian Mulroney announced his resignation in 1993, Campbell put her name in the hat for leadership. While not considered the frontrunner, she won, becoming the first-ever female Prime Minister of Canada. She served in this role for 132 days, until the party faced a devastating loss in the October 1993 election. Campbell lost her own seat.

Veteran journalist Robert Fife – who authored a book on Campbell – said that while she’s led an incredibly accomplished political career, she faced the same fate as many other women who have taken on the leadership of a failing party.

“She was handed a poisoned chalice. All of the odds were stacked against her.”

Hear more about the Canadian women who have served as a First Minister by checking out our No Second Chances Podcast.