Douglas Campbell (Ontario politician)


Douglas Campbell (Ontario politician)

Douglas Kay Campbell (born circa 1930) is a longtime political activist in Canada. A trade union activist in his youth, Campbell has spent several years in the peace movement and has run for political office on numerous occasions. He has also contested for the leadership of the Ontario New Democratic Party and the New Democratic Party of Canada on five occasions, beginning in 1970.

Campbell participated in the Great Lakes Seaman's Strike of 1946, which succeeded in significantly reducing the number of mandatory working hours for employees. He continued to work as a seaman for a number of years, eventually becoming a sea captain.

In the federal election of 1962, Campbell ran as an Independent candidate in the Toronto riding of St. Paul's. At the time, he described his vocation as "coffee house proprietor". He received only 328 votes, finishing last in a field of five candidates.

In the 1960s, while a student at the University of Toronto, Campbell became active in several protest movements. His primary concern was the peace movement: he opposed the Vietnam War, supported the Ban The Bomb movement, and made efforts to remove "militarization" from the public school system. He also took part in protests against capital and corporal punishment. In 1968, while working as a high-school principal in Newfoundland, Campbell was responsible for introducing sex education into the curriculum.

Campbell also become involved in the New Democratic Party during the 1960s. In 1966, he ran for Treasurer of the Ontario NDP, and received 22% of the vote. In 1970, while working as a taxi driver and part-time teacher, he was a last-minute entry into the Ontario party's leadership race in which the leading candidates were Walter Pitman and Stephen Lewis. Campbell was initially kept off the ballot by a ruling of the party executive that all candidates must have fifty signatures from delegates to stand. On the day before voting, Campbell brought forward a motion which reduced the required number from fifty to one; the convention approved the motion by 36 votes, and he was able to stand.

The basic thrust of Campbell's campaign was put forward in a Toronto Star piece, published on October 1, 1970, in which he opposed what he described as the NDP's drift toward centrist liberalism. He did not specifically identify himself as a member of The Waffle, but clearly supported that group's efforts at renewing the party from a left-wing perspective. At the convention itself, he vowed to take the party's message "into the streets". He was not regarded as a serious candidate by most delegates, and received only 21 votes. Campbell challenged Lewis for the leadership again in 1972, without success.

Campbell also challenged David Lewis (Stephen Lewis's father) for the leadership of the federal NDP in 1973. In 1975, he ran in the party's federal leadership convention to succeed Lewis and received 11 votes, finishing last in a field of five candidates.

Campbell resurfaced in 1988 as a fringe candidate for mayor of North York, Ontario. He appears to have campaigned for the federal NDP leadership again the following year (after the resignation of Ed Broadbent), but dropped from the race before the convention took place.

Most recently, Campbell has run for Mayor of Toronto in 2000, 2003 and 2006, receiving 1.2% and 0.3% of the vote in the first two contests respectively. During the 2006 campaign he was quoted as saying "the answer is public ownership of land. Businessmen are going to nuclearize the planet. If you vote for a capitalist candidate, you're voting to kill children".[1] He has registered again as a mayoral candidate in the 2010 election.


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