Gordon Campbell (Canadian politician)

Gordon Campbell (Canadian politician)

Infobox Prime Minister
honorific-prefix = The Honourable
name = Gordon Muir Campbell
honorific-suffix = MLA BA MBA

caption =
birth_date = birth date and age|1948|01|12
birth_place = Vancouver, British Columbia
residence =
death_date =
death_place =
order = 34th
office = Premier of British Columbia
term_start = June 5, 2001
term_end =
lieutenant_governor = Garde Gardom, Iona Campagnolo, Steven Point
predecessor = Ujjal Dosanjh
successor =
party = BC Liberal
Political Ideology = Conservative
spouse = Nancy Campbell

Gordon Muir Campbell MLA (born January 12, 1948) is the 34th Premier of British Columbia. He is the leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party, which holds a majority in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Early life

Born into a wealthy Vancouver family, Campbell's circumstances changed abruptly at age 13 when his father committed suicide. The Campbell family was then forced to move out of their Point Grey family home and into a small rented apartment.

Campbell attended University Hill Secondary School in Vancouver. After high school, he enrolled at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution in New Hampshire, studying urban management and earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Under the Canadian University Service Overseas program, Gordon spent two years in Yola, Nigeria teaching at a secondary school. On his return to Canada he worked as an executive assistant to Art Phillips, then mayor of Vancouver, from 1973 to 1976. Campbell then left to become a realty developer. He became Marathon Realty's general manager of development, and was founder of Citycore Development Corporation.

Campbell later earned a Master of Business Administration degree in 1978 from Simon Fraser University. Campbell has been awarded the Simon Fraser University “Distinguished Alumni” Award and the Inter-Faith Brotherhood “Man of the Year” Award. [http://www.bcliberals.com/EN/1023] .

Vancouver councillor and mayor

Campbell was elected to the Vancouver city council in 1984, and from 1986 to 1993, Campbell served as the mayor of Vancouver for three successive terms.Campbell's tenure is most noted for the development of the Expo lands, the re-development of the Yaletown neighbourhood, and the foundation of the Coal Harbour residential community. Campbell's most significant public work during 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.

BC Liberal leader

Campbell became leader of the BC Liberal Party in 1993, and was elected to the Legislative Assembly next year in a Vancouver-Quilchena by-election. He has represented the Vancouver-Point Grey riding since 1996. He lost the 1996 BC provincial election despite winning more votes, and he remained opposition leader under New Democratic Party Premiers Glen Clark, Dan Miller and Ujjal Dosanjh.

Clark's government was beset by controversy and difficult economic and fiscal conditions. After the NDP's approval rating dropped to historic lows, in the BC election of 2001 Campbell's Liberals defeated them, 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.

Campbell's first term

Tax Reductions

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. [http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/archive/efu/pdf/update_factsheet.pdf] 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 these tax cuts and to balance the provincial budget, Campbell's first term was also noted for fiscal austerity. This included major reductions in welfare rolls (by making it harder to qualify for assistance) and some social services, deregulation, the sale of some government assets (in particular the ferries built by the previous government during the Fast Ferry Scandal), and the privitization of BC Rail (which was made, despite contrary campaign promises). Campbell also reduced the size of the civil service, and closed some government agent and welfare offices in some communities. He also closed the BC Human Rights Commission and replaced it with the BC Human Rights Tribunal [ [http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/] .]

A noteworthy aspect of Campbell's first administration was the prevalent labour strife in the public sector. To reduce program costs, the government embarked on a policy to hold most public sector unions to "zero, zero and zero" percent wage increases over three years. In addition, his government stripped contractual conditions from teachers' collective agreements (won over years of good-faith negotiations with previous governments), such as class size limitations; similar unilateral changes to health-care workers' contracts have subsequently been ruled unconstitutional and illegal by the Supreme Court of Canada. [http://www.nupge.ca/news_2008/n10ja08a.htm] This Campbell initiative was bill 29, the "Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act" and imposed a contract on over 40,000 union workers. [http://www.leg.bc.ca/37th2nd/3rd_read/gov29-3.htm] Although there were some labour unions that took job action over these contract positions, BC had the fewest number of worker-days lost due to strikes and lockouts in 30 years. [http://qp.gov.bc.ca/37th6th/votes/v050208.htm]

Minimum Wage

On November 1, 2001, the Campbell BC Liberals increased 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 existing minimum wage. [ [http://www.workrights.ca/content.php?doc=224&xwm=true Work Rights - Minimum Wage - British Columbia ] ]


The Campbell government passed legislation in August 2001 declaring education as an “essential service” and therefore making it illegal for teachers to strike. This action was presented as fulfilling a platform plank from the previous election campaign. [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/archive/2001-2005/2002SDL0023-000659.htm] . 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. [http://www.gov.bc.ca/bvprd/bc/content.do?brwId=%402Jk7M%7C0YQtuW&navId=NAV_ID_province&crumb=B.C.+Home&crumburl=%2Fhome.do]

The Campbell government also lifted the six-year long tuition fee freeze that was placed on the BC universities and colleges by the previous NDP government. Since then, tuition fees have risen by an average of 88% and are now higher than Canadian averages. [http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050901/d050901a.htm] . In 2005 a tuition limit policy was put in place capping increases at the rate of inflation. [http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/tuition/tuition_policy.htm]


Campbell made significant changes including a new Environmental Assessment Legislation, as well as new aquaculture policies. In November 2002, Campbell's government passed the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) which reversed many of the regulations previously introduced by the former NDP government.

Health care

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. [http://www.vancourier.com/issues03/094203/news/094203nn1.html] [http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-15195675_ITM] [http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=225254991&sid=5&Fmt=3&clientId=5176&RQT=309&VName=PQD] 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.

The Campbell government increased health funding by $3-billion during their first term in office to help meet the demand at hand and to increase wages for some health professionals [http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2005/default.htm] .

During their first term in office, the Campbell government increased the number of new nurse training spaces by 2,500, an increase of 62% [http://www.northernhealth.ca/News_Events/Media_Centre_and_News/20060511UNBCnursinggrads.asp] . At the same time, they nearly doubled the doctors in training, and opened new medical training facilities in Victoria and Prince George. [http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/medicalexpansion]

While the increase in doctors in training has been seen as a positive, the BC Medical Association has argued more spaces still need to be opened. [http://www.bcma.org/public/Negotiations_Information/PhysiciansFactSheet.htm]

Wage rates for doctors and nurses also increased in the Campbell government’s first term. Nurses received a 23.5% raise [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/archive/2001-2005/2002SDL0024-000665.htm] while doctors received a 20.6% raise [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/archive/2001-2005/2002HSER0033-000455.htm] . The government argued these wage increases were needed to attract and retain skilled professionals in the health care system.

First Nations

During the 2001 election, the BC Liberals also campaigned on a promise to hold a consultative referendum on First Nation treaty rights. In the spring of 2002, the government held the referendum. [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/aboriginals/bc_treaty_referendum.html "B.C. treaty referendum"] - CBC, July 2, 2002]

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. About one third of ballots were returned, significantly less than the usual turnout in provincial general elections, but considerably more than predicted by opponents.Fact|date=February 2007

The ballots that were returned showed enthusiastic support, with over 80 per cent of participating voters agreeing to all eight proposed principles. The referendum cost about $9 million.

After the conclusion of the treaty referendum, many treaty negotiations resumed.

In the lead-up to the 2005 election, Campbell discussed opening up a New Relationship with Aboriginal People [http://www.gov.bc.ca/arr/newrelationship/default.html] . This has become the foundation for agreements in principle that were made during the second term.

Conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

In January 2003, Campbell was arrested and pled 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. 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. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2003/03/24/campbell030324.html B.C. premier fined for drunk driving ] ]

A national anti-drinking and driving group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving called for Gordon Campbell to resign. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2003/01/11/campbell_030111.html B.C. premier should quit over drunk driving charge: MADD ] ]

2010 Olympics

British Columbia won the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympics on July 2nd, 2003. This was a joint Winter Olympics bid by Vancouver and the ski resort of Whistler. [http://www.vec.ca/english/4/2010-winter-olympics.cfm] .

Campbell, a main proponent of the bid to get the games, attended the final presentations in Prague, Czech Republic and made an impassioned plea for the games to come back to Canada for the first time since it was held in Calgary in 1988. He also went to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, attending the Games' competitions, as well as the closing ceremonies and made himself available to the news media, sharing his thoughts about Vancouver and the province of British Columbia welcoming the world in 2010.

On August 8, 2008, he attended the Opening Ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In a statement, he said that "the lighting of the Olympic torch is especially significant. The next torch-lighting during an opening ceremony will be in February 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia." [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2008OTP0199-001186.htm] He went to Beijing to promote the province of British Columbia at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and like he did in Torino, attended the Games' competitions and availed himself to the news media, sharing his thoughts about Vancouver and B.C. welcoming the world in 2010. [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2008OTP0201-001210.htm]

Electoral reform

Prior to the 2001 election, Campbell made political reform and electoral reform a campaign promise. This was first reflected in the 1996 provincial election where Campbell’s BC Liberals received more votes than their rivals the BC NDP (42% vs. 39% of the popular vote), but the non-proportional nature of the electoral system resulted in the NDP forming government (39 seats vs. 33 seats [http://www.elections.bc.ca/elections/sov96/polpart.htm] . The 2001 election again reflected this issue as the BC Liberal party received 57% percent of the popular vote, but won 97% of the seats [http://www.elections.bc.ca/elections/sov01/polpart.htm] .

The new Campbell administration introduced fixed-term election dates for BC, departing from the standard British parliamentary procedure that left election dates at the discretion of the party in power. Campbell also founded a first in Canada, the Citizens' Assembly composed of randomly-selected British Columbians from around the province. The Assembly advised adopting the Single Transferable Vote system in future elections. Whether or not to adopt BC-STV was put to a province-wide referendum; the 57.7% in favour fell slightly short of the 60 percent the government had established as the requirement to pass. [http://www.elections.bc.ca/elections/ge2005/refresults.htm Preliminary Referendum Results] , Elections BC.]

2005 election

Campbell campaigned on the slogan "Our Plan is Working", alluding to BC's recovered economic conditions and lower unemployment. In the May 17, 2005, election, Campbell and the BC Liberals won a second majority government, with a reduced number of seats. Campbell thus became the first BC Premier to be re-elected in more than 25 years.

Campbell's second term

The economy

430,000 new jobs have been created in B.C. since December 2001 [http://www.gov.bc.ca/keyinitiatives/economic_indicators.html] , the best job creation record in Canada. In 2007, the economy has created 70,800 more jobs, almost all full time positions [http://www.gov.bc.ca/keyinitiatives/economic_indicators.html] . By Spring 2007, unemployment had fallen to 4.0% -- the lowest rate in 30 years. Current unemployment rates sit at 4.5% [http://www.statcan.ca/english/Subjects/Labour/LFS/lfs-en.htm]

2010 Olympics projects begin

After Campbell's re-election, major construction work for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games got underway. This includes venue construction, the Olympic Village, and a significant road construction program on the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler. There is mounting concern over cost overruns on major construction projects as the cost of labour and raw materials rise beyond initial projections.

Labour relations

In order to minimize the effect labour disputes could have on the 2010 Olympic games, the Campbell government offered bonuses of between $3,500 and $4,000 per employee if contracts were signed before March 31, 2006 (June 30, 2006 in the case of the BCTF) for contracts that would expire after the games. The strategy succeeded as virtually all public sector contracts have now been extended to after the 2009 election and 2010 Olympics. This was the first time a provincial government and the BCTF reached a negotiated collective agreement since the government created the current BCTF/British Columbia Public School Employer's Association (BCPSEA) bargaining system, and province-wide negotiations were put in place in 1994. [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2006FIN0194-000897.htm]

In June 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that parts of health care labour legislation passed in 2002 were unconstitutional. The Court instructed the government to reconsider the legilsation and gave it one year to make the necessary changes.

Health care

The Campbell government launched the Conversation on Health, a province-wide consultation with British Columbians on their health care to lay the groundwork for improvements to the principles of the Canada Health Act that will be presented in the Fall of 2007 [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2006OTP0140-001167.htm] .


On October 7, 2005, fed-up with Campbell's inability or unwillingness to engage in good-faith negotiations with the BC Teachers Federation, and 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 last two weeks, and threatened to culminate in a general strike across the province.

Faced with the threat of a general strike and growing public support for teachers [http://www.straight.com/article/teachers-winning-pr-battle] , the Campbell government finally agreed to partial mediation by Vince Ready. Ready's recommendations included money allocated to alleviate the stresses placed on schools by Campbell's removal of class size and composition limitations. [http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/10/23/teachers-sunday051023.html] On October 23, 2005, it was announced teachers had agreed to return to work in light of the Ready recommendations.

First Nations

The Campbell government has taken steps to resolve a number of First Nations issues in their second term. Campbell has initialed final agreements in principle with the Tsawwassen [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2006OTP0181-001479.htm] , Maa-Nulth [http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2006OTP0183-001482.htm] , and Lheidli T’enneh First Nations [http://www.governmentcaucus.bc.ca/3394/46487] .

There have been opponents that have come out against these agreements as well, mostly with respect to the Tsawwassen agreement’s proposition to take a parcel of land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve [http://www.abbynews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=38&cat=23&id=795826&more=] .

BC 150th Anniversary Celebrations in Victoria BC (July 4, 2008)

Premier Gordon Campbell shared the stage with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other politicians at Victoria BC's British Columbia 150th Anniversary party (strictly speaking, the 150th anniversary of the designation of the mainland portion of the province as the Colony of British Columbia, Victoria celebrated its 165th anniversary of its founding as Colony of Vancouver Island). Colin James, Burton Cummings, Sarah McLachlan, and Feist performed, in front of the Legislature, for about 40,000 people after the politician speeches near a very large birthday cake.


External links

* [http://www.gordoncampbellmla.bc.ca/ Gordon Campbell's official MLA site]
* [http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0009657 Canadian Encyclopedia entry on Gordon Campbell]
* [http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=M1ARTM0011952 Maclean's interview with Campbell, 1999]
* [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050419.wxbccampbell19/BNStory/specialBC2005/ "Campbell Contradiction" (Globe and Mail profile, April 2005)]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/bcvotes2005/parties/gordon_campbell.html CBC profile, April 2005]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2003/03/24/campbell030324.html B.C. premier fined for drunk driving]

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