________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 16 . . . . April 13, 2001

cover Kim Campbell: Through the Looking Glass.

Michel Jones. (Director). Silva Basmajian (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2000.
71 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9100 020.

Subject Headings:
Campbell, Kim, 1947-.
Women in politics-Canada-Biography.
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography.
Canada-Politics and government, 1933-.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Helen Norrie.

**** /4

For political junkies, students of Canadian history, or anyone who has an interest in real-life drama, Kim Campbell: Through the Looking Glass is a fascinating study. This documentary follows her from her first early triumphs as a B.C. politician to her victory in the leadership race of the Conservative party, a circumstance which made her Canada's first woman Prime Minister. It then details the disastrous national campaign of the Autumn of 1993 which led to her own humiliating defeat and her party's near extinction from power in Ottawa.

      This video captures both Kim Campbell's vivacity and enthusiasm in the early days of her political career, her naivete and confusion during the final campaign, and finally her disillusionment and disappointment following her defeat. Through documentary footage plus capsulized interviews with many players (reporters, commentators, her campaign chair, staff in the Prime Minister's Office, plus supporters and family members), the picture is formed of an intelligent, ambitious and able woman who was pushed too quickly into a position for which she was not prepared. As a virtual outsider within the party which she came to lead, she was manipulated by the insiders and was unable to change the party's basic direction, despite the fact that she had been elected to give it a radical new look. By showing a succession of mistakes, miscues and misrepresentations (not all by Campbell) during the campaign, the video captures the disintegration of her campaign and her image and, eventually, of her party.

      The documentary begins and ends with brief glimpses of Kim Campbell in her role as Canadian Consul in Los Angeles, a position she treats with some irony as it was a gift of the man who defeated her, Prime Minister John Chretien. This video, useful for Canadian history or political science classes, could also trigger interesting discussions on the role of women in politics, including that of contrasting the national media's treatment of women to that of men in similar roles.

Highly Recommended.

Helen Norrie, a lecturer in Children's Literature in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba, authors the monthly "Children's Books" column for the Winnipeg Free Press.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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