Kim Campbell becomes Canada's first woman prime minister

At the Progressive Conservative leadership convention in 1993, Campbell beats rival Jean Charest to replace Brian Mulroney as leader and PM.

Kim Campbell becomes Canada's first woman prime minister

30 years ago
Duration 3:00
Kim Campbell becomes Canada's first woman prime minister

In a historic vote on June 13, 1993, B.C. lawyer, MP and cabinet minister Kim Campbell was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, replacing Brian Mulroney and becoming Canada's first woman prime minister.

After the results of the second ballot were announced, the crowd stood and chanted, "Campbell! Campbell!" as the newly crowned leader faced her party. 

Campbell ran against Jean Charest, Jim Edwards, Garth Turner and Patrick Boyer. All of them but Charest dropped out after the first round of voting.

On the first ballot, Campbell received a total of 1,664 votes, 71 votes shy of a victory. Jean Charest won 1,369 votes.

In the second and final round of voting, Campbell secured 52.7 per cent of the vote with 1,817 delegates to Charest's 1,630.

Kim Campbell was prime minister for just a few months. In the 1993 election, her party won just two seats and she was defeated in her own riding of Vancouver Centre. (Chuck Stoody/Canadian Press)

"I can't help but underline the fact that Kim Campbell becomes the first woman prime minister in Canada's 126 years," Brian Mulroney told reporters after the convention, according to a Toronto Star news report from the next day. "She's a remarkable person. She's a person of great leadership skills and great integrity."

Campbell said she was moved and overjoyed when she was voted leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in June 1993.

"Women of all ages were jubilant, many of them crying at this historic moment. A woman was going to be prime minister of Canada, and I was that woman. I put aside all my fears about what was to come, and just savoured it," Campbell wrote in her memoir, Time and Chance.

Campbell officially became Canada's 19th prime minister on June 25, 1993.

Aside from being Canada's first female prime minister, she was also the first Canada's first prime minister born and raised in British Columbia.

Kim Campbell is surrounded by four other Canadian prime ministers -- Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chrétien and Joe Clark -- in this 1994 photo. (Paul Couvrette/Library and Archives Canada/PA-197391)