Kim Campbell Protests Exclusion from Time Magazine's List of Most Influential People
Above: Is this shadowy figure one of the world's most influential people?
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (SP) — Time Magazine has published a list of what it regards to be the 100 most influential people in the world. The list includes political leaders such as George W. Bush and Tony Blair, entertainers like Mel Gibson and Oprah Winfrey, and athletes such as Yao Ming and Tiger Woods.
There are four Canadians on the list, including Conservative Party leadership candidate Belinda Stronach, esteemed jurist Louise Arbour, architect Frank Gehry and Cirque du Soleil founder and Chief Executive Officer Guy Laliberté. However, one Canadian who isn't on the list is former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, and she isn't happy about it.
Shortly before the Time Magazine list was published, Campbell was at the centre of a different controversy due to her unexpected inclusion on the National Geographic Society's list of 50 most important political leaders in history. Most historians were at a loss to explain exactly what Campbell accomplished during her brief tenure as Prime Minister that would merit being named on a list that includes Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Napoleon, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.
Above: Genghis Khan has been dead for almost a thousand years, but his notoriety lives on.
Moreover, almost every other person on the list reigned for many years, if not decades. Campbell, on the other hand, was Prime Minister for only five months. In the most devastating defeat in Canadian political history, the majority government that Campbell inherited from Brian Mulroney was reduced to a mere two seats in the 1993 federal election. Campbell even lost her own seat in that election, resigning shortly thereafter to become Canada's Consul General in Los Angeles. She now teaches public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Nevertheless, Campbell vigorously defended her inclusion on the National Geographic list in an exclusive interview with Satiric Press, and blames the media for the perception that she was a political lightweight. "First of all, I think it's important to consider that most of the others on that list were in power at least a hundred years ago, when the media was not nearly as far-reaching," said Campbell. "These days, the press hangs on your every word, hoping that you'll say something stupid, so that they can publish or broadcast it almost immediately. I certainly found that out during the 1993 election campaign, when I suggested that elections were not the time to be debating serious issues. If Napoleon had been subjected to that same level of media scrutiny, he might not be remembered today as such a nice guy or brilliant tactician."
Campbell also argues that importance of her reign as Prime Minister ought to be measured in part by the magnitude of her defeat. "I believe that the fortunes of a great leader are inextricably tied to the fortunes of their political party," said Campbell. "When Margaret Thatcher resigned, her successor, John Major, led the Tories to another majority government. When Julius Caesar died, the Roman Empire continued for hundreds of years longer. On the other hand, when I lost to Jean Chrétien's Liberals in 1993, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was very nearly eliminated completely. Only a very important and influential leader could have that kind of effect."
Above: Et tu, Julius?
Campbell feels that this power and influence was overlooked when Time Magazine put together its list of most influential people. She specifically called into question the credentials of the Canadians who were included on the list. Louise Arbour was included in the 'thinkers and scholars' category. "I don't dispute that Madam Justice Arbour has a brilliant legal mind," said Campbell, "but she was a member of the Supreme Court of Canada for only four years, so she really didn't have enough time to prove that she belongs on the list."
Campbell also had difficulty with the inclusion of Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberté. "With all due respect, Cirque de Soleil is a lovely show, but I think there are many Canadian entertainers who've been far more influential than Mr. Laliberté," said Campbell. When asked to be more specific, she cited master illusionist and former Natural Law Party leader Doug Henning. "Not only was Doug a brilliant magician, but he was also on the forefront of the push to decriminalize marijuana possession," said Campbell. "Without the groundwork laid by the Natural Law Party under Doug Henning's leadership, there's no way that Flin Flon, Manitoba would have become Canada's first government-sponsored marijuana grow operation."
Above: It's been said that Doug Henning's magic was best appreciated under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.
Campbell says that she was especially offended by Belinda Stronach's inclusion on the list. "Time Magazine compares her to Margaret Thatcher, insofar as she was the head of a major corporation before entering the political realm," said Campbell. "The only problem with that comparison is that Thatcher wasn't the CEO of a company that happened to be owned by her father. The only thing she really has in common with Margaret Thatcher is that she happens to be a woman. Surely, that fact alone is not a good enough reason for her to be on the list."
Above: Kim Campbell never bought into Belindamania.