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No new jobs, Kim Campbell promises

The Story


Day 1 of the 47-day campaign begins shakily for Campbell. "I believe it is the time for new leadership," Prime Minister Kim Campbell says confidently, calling the 1993 election. Campbell's key promise - reduce the deficit. But when reporters question her on the issue of unemployment, she responds that the Canada's jobless rate won't likely fall for some four years. She adds that the unemployment rate in fact wouldn't significantly drop until the turn of the century. Her aides scramble to do damage control. Liberal leader Jean Chrétien in turn responds by promising to deliver jobs to the cheers of his party. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Sept. 8, 1993
Speaker: Kim Campbell
Duration: 2:35

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. Before boarding his campaign bus, Chrétien responded to Campbell's remarks by promising that a Liberal government would bring better times. "It will be like the good old days," he said, "Canadians will be working."
. NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin replied to Campbell's remarks saying, "Brian Mulroney may be gone, but his economic policies live on, and those policies are ripping the heart and soul out of this country."

. The unemployment issue continued to dog Campbell. A few days after she called the election, she was asked why her economic forecast was so grim. The flinty Campbell responded, "Maybe you need a hearing aide. I mean, I am offering hope to Canadians." Her response was interpreted by some as likening stupidity with hearing loss. Almost immediately, Campbell's campaign headquarters started receiving angry calls. "People who had some kind of hearing problem in the riding [were] calling, like every single one of them called. The phones were ringing," said her campaign manager David Camp in the documentary Through the Looking Glass.

. But some appreciated Campbell's frank honesty. On Sept. 14, 1993, the Globe and Mail ran an editorial that read, "Let's see if we've got this straight. Kim Campbell says something that everyone acknowledges to be true, and it's a 'gaffe.' Jean Chrétien vows to do something that everyone knows will accomplish nothing, and is said to offer 'hope.' Is it any wonder the public thinks the press are out to lunch?"

. In fact, Campbell had the last laugh when it was shown that her predictions on unemployment were very accurate. Canada's unemployment rate didn't fall below 10 per cent until 1996, hovered at eight per cent until 1999, and finally broke seven per cent in 2000.


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