Gordon Muir Campbell, (born January 12, 1948) is a Canadian diplomat and politician who was the 34th Premier of British Columbia from 2001 to 2011. Since 2011, he has been the Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A former real estate lobbyist and teacher, Campbell's political career began as executive assistant to Vancouver Mayor Art Phillips until 1976. He worked as a development manager and developer until 1986, when he became the 35th Mayor of Vancouver. He was the leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party, which was re-elected for a third term on May 12, 2009 and which holds a majority in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
1 Early life,
2 Vancouver Councillor and Mayor,
3 Liberal leader,
4 First term as Premier
4.5 First Nations,
4.6 Health care,
4.7 Impaired driving,
4.8 Minimum wage,
4.9 2010 Winter Olympics,
5 Second term as Premier
5.4 First Nations,
5.5 Health care,
6 Third term as Premier
6.1 BC Rail e-mail controversy,
6.2 HST controversy,
8 High Commissioner to the UK,
10 Election results (partial),
12 External links,
Campbell was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. His father, Charles Gordon (Chargo) Campbell, was a doctor and an Assistant Dean of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, until his suicide in 1961 when Gordon was 13. His mother Peg was a kindergarten assistant at University Hill Elementary School. Charles and his wife, Peg, had four children. Gordon grew up in West Point Grey and went to Stride Elementary, and University Hill Secondary School where he was student council president. While there he was accepted by Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution in New Hampshire where he had received a scholarship and a job offer so he could afford fees.
Campbell intended to study medicine but was persuaded by three English professors to shift his focus to English and urban management, earning a BA degree in English. At Dartmouth, in 1969, he received a $1,500 Urban Studies Fellowship that made it possible for him to work in Vancouver's city government. At that time Campbell met Art Phillips, a city councilor and future mayor of Vancouver.
After graduating from university that year, Campbell and Nancy Chipperfield were married in New Westminster on July 4, 1970. Under the Canadian University Service Overseas program, they went to Nigeria to teach. There he coached basketball and track and field and launched literacy initiatives. Campbell was accepted to Stanford to pursue a master's degree in education, but the couple instead returned to Vancouver where Campbell entered law school at UBC and Nancy completed her education degree. Campbell's law education was short-lived; he soon returned to the City of Vancouver to work for Art Phillips on his mayoral campaign. When Phillips was elected in 1972, Campbell became his executive assistant, a job he held until 1976.
When he left Mayor Phillips's office, at 28 years old, Campbell went to work for Marathon Realty as a project manager. In 1976 Geoffrey, the Campbells' first child, was born. In 1978, the Campbells bought a house in Point Grey, which was their home for the next 26 years. From 1975 to 1978 he pursued his MBA at Simon Fraser University. In 1979, Nancy Campbell gave birth to their second child, Nicholas.
In 1981, Campbell left Marathon Realty and started his own business, Citycore Development Corporation. Despite the economic slowdown that hit Canada that year, Campbell's corporation was successful and constructed several buildings in Vancouver.
After a two-year absence from civic political activities, Campbell became involved in the mayoral campaign of May Brown and was an active supporter of the Downtown Stadium for Vancouver committee. Although Brown was unsuccessful, Campbell and the committee continued promoting the stadium to revitalize False Creek, which at the time was polluted industrial land. The committee was eventually successful, as Premier Bill Bennett announced the Downtown Stadium project in 1980.
Vancouver Councillor and Mayor:
Campbell was elected to Vancouver City Council in 1984 and he served as Mayor of Vancouver for three successive terms from 1986 to 1993. Notable events in civic politics during that period included the development of the Expo Lands, the re-development of Yaletown, and the foundation of the Coal Harbour residential area. One of the most significant projects of his term was the construction of the new Vancouver Public Library. He also served as chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional District and president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
Campbell became leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party in 1993 in a three-way race with Gordon Gibson, Jr. and Gordon Wilson, the incumbent party leader who had lost the confidence of his party, at least partly due to a romantic affair with a member of his caucus. Campbell was elected to the Legislative Assembly the next year in a Vancouver-Quilchena by-election.
In the 1996 campaign, Campbell was elected to the Vancouver-Point Grey riding, which he held until 2010. The Liberals entered the election leading in polls, due to a fundraising scandal in the NDP. Campbell's party gained 16 seats and won a slight majority of the popular vote, but the NDP retained enough seats to continue a majority government. Campbell stayed on as Leader of the Opposition, opposing New Democratic Party Premiers Glen Clark, Dan Miller and Ujjal Dosanjh.
In May 2000, Campbell, along with Michael de Jong and Geoffrey Plant, brought a court case against the Nisga'a Nation, the Attorney General of Canada and the Attorney General of British Columbia, parties to the first modern day Aboriginal Treaty in British Columbia, known as the Nisga'a Final Agreement. Campbell and the other plaintiffs claimed that the treaty signed with the Nisga'a Nation was "in part inconsistent with the Constitution of Canada and therefore in part of no force and effect." However, Justice Williamson dismissed the application, judging that the enacting legislation did "establish a treaty as contemplated by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The legislation and the Treaty are constitutionally valid."
Premier Glen Clark's government was beset by controversy, difficult economic and fiscal conditions and attacks on the NDP's building of the Fast Ferries, and charges against Clark in relation to casino licensing, known as Casinogate (Clark was eventually vindicated, though resigned his post because of the investigation). In the BC election of 2001 Campbell's Liberals defeated the two-term NDP incumbents, taking 77 of 79 seats in the legislature. This was the largest majority of seats, and the second-largest majority of the popular vote in BC history.
First term as Premier:
In 2001, Campbell campaigned on a promise to significantly reduce income taxes to stimulate the economy. A day after taking office, Campbell reduced personal income tax for all taxpayers by 25 per cent. Cuts were applied to every tax bracket. The government also introduced reductions in the corporate income tax, and eliminated the Corporation Capital Tax.
To finance the tax cuts and to balance the provincial budget, Campbell's first term was also noted for several measures of fiscal austerity. This included reductions in welfare rolls and some social services, deregulation, sale of government assets (in particular the ferries built by the previous government during the Fast Ferry Scandal), reducing the size of the civil service, and closing government offices in certain areas. BC Rail's operations were sold to the Canadian National Railway despite contrary campaign promises (condemned as unfair by the losing bidders and triggered charges based in information found during police raids on cabinet offices in a drug-related investigation in what is known as the BC Legislature Raids).
The Campbell government passed legislation in August 2001 declaring education as an essential service, therefore making it illegal for educators to go on strike. This fulfilled a platform promise made in the election campaign.
The government embarked upon the largest expansion of BC's post-secondary education system since the foundation of Simon Fraser University in 1965. In 2004, the government announced that 25,000 new post-secondary places would be established between 2004 and 2010.
The Campbell government also lifted the six-year long tuition fee freeze that was placed on BC universities and colleges by the previous NDP government. In 2005 a tuition limit policy was put in place, capping increases at the rate of inflation.
Campbell made significant changes, including new Environmental Assessment Legislation, as well as controversial new aquaculture policies on salmon farming. In November 2002, Campbell's government passed the Forest and Range Practices Act which reversed many of the regulations previously introduced by the former New Democrat government.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Columbia_Treaty_Referendum
During the 2001 election, the BC Liberals also campaigned on a promise to hold a consultative referendum seeking a mandate from the general public to negotiate treaties with First Nations. In the spring of 2002, the government held the referendum.
The referendum, led by Attorney General Geoff Plant, proposed eight questions that voters were asked to either support or oppose. Critics claimed the phrasing was flawed or biased toward a predetermined response. While some critics, especially First Nations and religious groups, called for a boycott of the referendum, by the May 15 deadline almost 800,000 British Columbians had cast their ballots. Critics called for a boycott of the referendum and First Nations groups collected as many ballots as possible so that they might be destroyed publicly.
Of the ballots that were returned, over 80 per cent of participating voters agreeing to all eight proposed principles. Treaty negotiations resumed.
In the lead-up to the 2005 election, Campbell discussed opening up a New Relationship with Aboriginal People. This position was directly opposite to his view of Aboriginal Treaties pursued in the 2000 Nisga'a Final Treaty court case, discussed above. The "New Relationship" became the foundation for agreements in principle that were made during the second term, but ultimately rejected by the membership of the First Nations involved.
The Campbell government drew up legislation that required health authorities to contract out positions when savings could be predicted. This led to the privatization of many healthcare jobs. These changes met resistance from many health care workers and resulted in a strike by some of them. This strike was ended by court order and amendments by the government on parts of the legislation. Higher infection rates were reported in British Columbia and the NDP alleged that it was a result of cleaning contractors hiring improperly trained workers.
The Campbell government increased health funding by $3 billion during its first term in office to help meet the demand at hand and to increase wages for some health professionals. As well they increased the number of new nurse training spaces by 2,500, an increase of 62 percent. At the same time, it nearly doubled the doctors in training, and opened new medical training facilities in Victoria and Prince George.
Wage rates for doctors and nurses increased in the Campbell government's first term. Nurses received a 23.5 percent raise while doctors received a 20.6 percent raise after arbitration. Doctors had threatened to go on strike due to the original Campbell plan to slash their fees, which was seen as a breach of contract, with the dispute being sent to arbitration.
In January 2003, Campbell was arrested and pleaded no contest for driving under the influence of alcohol while vacationing in Hawaii. According to court records Campbell's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. In Hawaii, drunk driving is only a misdemeanour, in Canada it is a Criminal Code offence. As is customary in the United States, Campbell's mugshot was provided to the media by Hawaiian police. The image has proved to be a lasting personal embarrassment, frequently used by detractors and opponents. Campbell was fined $913 (US) and the court ordered him to take part in a substance abuse program, and to be assessed for alcoholism.
A national anti-drinking and driving group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada called for Campbell to resign.
On November 1, 2001, the Campbell BC Liberals honoured the previous NDP government's legislation to increase the minimum wage to $8.00 per hour from $7.60, while at the same time authority was given so new entrants into the labour force could be paid $6 per hour, 25% lower than the minimum wage. In 2010, British Columbia had the lowest minimum wage amongst the 13 provinces and territories. Campbell's successor, Christy Clark, announced that the minimum wage would increase in three stages to begin on May 1, 2011.
2010 Winter Olympics:
British Columbia won the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympics on July 2, 2003. This was a joint Winter Olympics bid by Vancouver and the ski resort of Whistler. Campbell attended the final presentations in Prague, the Czech Republic.
On February 12, 2010, Campbell was in attendance at the opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and attended events during the games and was present at the closing ceremony.
On April 23, 2010, Campbell received the Olympic Order from the Canadian Olympic Committee for being a dedicated proponent of the Olympic Movement.
Second term as Premier:
In the May 17, 2005, election, Campbell and the BC Liberals won a second majority government with a reduced majority.
430,000 new jobs have been created in B.C. since December 2001, the best job creation record in Canada. In 2007, the economy created 70,800 more jobs, almost all full-time positions. By Spring 2007, unemployment had fallen to 4.0%, the lowest rate in 30 years. However, 40,300 jobs were lost in 2008, mostly in December (35,100), and unemployment rates sit at 7.8% as of July 2009, the same level they were at in July 2001.
On October 7, 2005, following the successive imposition of contracts on BC teachers, British Columbia's teachers began an indefinite walk-out. Campbell having made striking illegal for teachers, educators referred to this as an act of civil disobedience. Despite fines and contempt charges, the teachers' walk-out lasted two weeks, and threatened to culminate in a general strike across the province.
In 2008, Premier Campbell's government developed and entrenched in law the Climate Action Plan. The Plan is claimed by the government to be one of the most progressive plans to address Greenhouse Gas emissions in North America, due in part to the revenue-neutral Carbon Tax.
The Campbell government attempted to negotiate treaties with a number of First Nations in its second term. Final agreements in principle were signed with the Tsawwassen First Nation,Maa-Nulth Treaty Society, and Lheidli T'enneh First Nations. The Tsawwassen Treaty was passed by the band's membership in a heavily contested and divisive referendum but came into effect on April 3, 2009.
The Maa-Nulth Treaty, which covers a group of Nuu-chah-nulth band governments, is pending ratification by the federal government while the Lheidli-T'enneh Treaty was rejected in the referendum held by that band.
The Campbell government launched the Conversation on Health, a province-wide consultation with British Columbians on their health care to lay the groundwork for changes to the principles of the Canada Health Act that were presented in the Fall of 2007.
Third term as Premier:
Campbell and the BC Liberals were re-elected in the May 12, 2009, election. Their share of total seats remained almost unchanged, as they won 49 seats in a new expanded 85-seat legislature.
BC Rail e-mail controversy:
Some five years after the BC Legislature Raids, controversy arose when it was revealed that e-mails among Campbell, his staff, and other cabinet ministers may not have been deleted years ago as first claimed. An affidavit filed by Rosemarie Hayes, the B.C. government's manager in charge of information services, suggested that copies of the e-mails may have existed as recently as May 2009, but were ordered to have been destroyed at that time.
On July 20, 2009, the Supreme Court of British Columbia judge conducting the Basi-Virk trial, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, ordered Campbell and other top officials to turn over their e-mail records to the court by August 17. These were never located nor surrendered to the Court.
On July 23, 2009, Campbell announced that British Columbia would move towards a Harmonized Sales Tax, or HST. The new 12% sales tax would combine and replace the previous 5% Goods and Services Tax and 7% Provincial Sales Tax. The announcement was met with strong opposition from political opponents, news media, and opposition from most members of the public. However, the proposed tax received a positive reaction from the business community, strong supporters of the BC Liberals. Much of the opposition stemmed from Campbell's perceived dishonesty about the HST as his government had said it was not on their radar prior to the election, and the fact that it equated to a tax hike for several sectors.
On August 24, representatives from the retail, resource, and film industries held a news conference to speak out in favour of harmonizing BC's sales taxes. In addition, sales tax harmonization has been hailed by the C.D. Howe Institute, a neo-conservative think tank, as being "crucial for B.C to maintain its economic competitiveness."
On June 11, Blair Lekstrom resigned as BC's Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, saying he was leaving both the cabinet and the caucus over a fundamental disagreement with the BC Liberals on the harmonized sales tax.
A freedom of information request came to light on September 1, 2010, revealing that the BC Liberals had formed HST-related plans prior to the 2009 election--contrary to their statements on the subject.
On November 3, 2010, Campbell made a televised address to the public, announcing his intention to resign as Premier of British Columbia. The announcement was made after months of strong political opposition to the implementation of the HST, which saw Campbell's approval rating fall to only 9%, according to an Angus Reid poll, and led to rumours that he has lost support of some members of his cabinet. Another factor in his resignation was the ongoing BC Rail Scandal trial in which the Premier and other members of his cabinet and staff were due to face embarrassing cross-examination in relation to the Basi-Virk trial, which was called to a halt with an illegal plea bargain around the same time. On December 5, 2010, while answering questions from reporters, he "hinted strongly" that he will not stay on as an MLA after his successor as Liberal leader is chosen in February, according to Rod Mickleburgh of The Globe and Mail. Campbell resigned as premier on March 14, 2011, he was succeeded by Christy Clark but remained in party circles as "senior advisor".
High Commissioner to the UK:
In late June 2011 it was reported that Campbell was to be named Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. On August 15, 2011, Campbell was formally announced to succeed the post. On September 15, 2011, Campbell officially became the Canadian High Commissioner in London. He represents Canadian interests throughout Britain, engaging people such as Sylvana Tomaselli (an alumna of UBC) accordingly.
On September 2, 2011, it was announced that Gordon Campbell would receive the Order of British Columbia. Upon the announcement there was a strong public backlash against Campbell receiving the honour. Some believed his nomination contravened the legislation that prevented an elected official from being appointed while holding office. However on September 7, 2011, Lance S. G. Finch, the Chief Justice of British Columbia and chair of the Order of BC Advisory Council declared that although his nomination package was received on March 10, 2011 (four days before his resignation as Premier), Campbell was appointed to the Order on September 2, 2011 at which time he was not an elected MLA.
Election results (partial):
British Columbia general election, 2009: Vancouver-Point Grey
Total Valid Votes
Total Rejected Ballots
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license