By Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell


“WE ARE ALL PEARSONIANS” says Kim Campbell, former Canadian prime minister, when she spoke to two audiences in Ottawa. This was the second in the “Prime Minister Series” of the Pearson Centre. (The first held in 2013, was, wait for it…..on Lester B. Pearson. Other session planned on the PMs from the last 50 years in the year ahead.)

The following are the two events:

Recognizing the role that the Right Honourable Kim Campbell played as federal minister and Prime Minister, and what she has done since, in Canada and internationally. And….what does this mean for the future?
Co-sponsored with Famous 5 Ottawa

EVENT 1: 11:45am – 1:30pm: National Arts Centre: “Her Legacy, Her Views, Her Future”
EVENT 2: 4:00 to 6:00 pm; Carleton University: FORUM: “DOING POLITICS DIFFERENTLY”

During her addresses, Campbell also urged her audiences, specially students and young people to get involved in the political system to make society a better place.

She pointed to various political heroes including Lester B. Pearson, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt, as people regardless of political stripe got involved and worked with the system to advance policies, that had international, national or local significance.

At a lunch hosted by Famous 5 Ottawa along with the Pearson Centre, Campbell outlined some key aspects of what she felt she was able to accomplish during her political career.

Famous 5 recognized her as a Nation Builder, a recognition that was buttressed by Mayor Jim Watson’s declaration of September 22 as “Kim Campbell Day” in Ottawa. Famous 5 has been honoring women of significant accomplishment for several years and highlighting their role as Nation Builders. For more info: http://famous5ottawa.ca/

Campbell, who makes a point of staying away from commenting on current political issues, talked at some length about her time in public life, as a school board trustee in Vancouver, as a MLA in the BC legislature and as a federal MP – minister and prime minister. This included bringing the International Baccalaureate to the Vancouver school system, negotiations with Frist Nations with the provincial government, changes to federal the rape shield law and gun control, and making changes in the organization of federal government departments to make them more relevant to public policy priorities.

In each case she said she made a point of working with all the members of her caucus including those who disagreed with her, as well as opposition members.

Since leaving public office Campbell has been addressing the need to increase the number of women in politics. She has also been putting forward the idea of two-member constituencies electing a man and a woman in each one.

She stressed that men are needed to be involved in the advancement of women in politics, specially men in positions of influence, and pointed to the Private Members Bill being put forward by Liberal MP Mauril Belanger to change the words of the National Anthem to make it gender neutral – the line “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command”.

The afternoon event was sponsored with various Carleton entities including Carleton president, Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, who opened the session. During her talk she encouraged young people to get involved in the political system and talked about getting involved in whatever way possible to make any changes that would make a difference in people’s lives. Following the event Campbell spent over an hour talking to a long line of over a hundred students who chatted and took pictures with her.

Our thanks to all our co-sponsors including Famous 5 Ottawa and Carleton University. Great people to work with for events that focus on public engagement.

Video recordings will be available soon.

Subscribe to the Pearson Centre newsletter.

Insightful commentary & debate, delivered to your inbox. Sign up below.