Larry Campbell

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Larry Campbell
Larry Campbell (2714953856).jpg
Former Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell in 2009
Canadian Senator
from British Columbia
In office
August 2, 2005 – February 28, 2023
Nominated byPaul Martin
Appointed byAdrienne Clarkson
37th Mayor of Vancouver
In office
2002 – 5 December 2005
Preceded byPhilip Owen
Succeeded bySam Sullivan
Personal details
Born (1948-02-28) 28 February 1948 (age 75)
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Political partyNon-affiliated (since 2022)
Other political
OccupationPolitician, RCMP, BC Coroner's Service

Larry W. Campbell (born 28 February 1948) is a Canadian politician who was the 37th mayor of Vancouver, Canada, from 2002 until 2005, and a member of the Senate of Canada from 2005 until his retirement in 2023.

Before he was mayor, Campbell worked for the RCMP as a police officer, and in 1969, he was transferred to the Vancouver detachment.[1] From 1973, he served as a member of the force's drug squad.[1]

Starting in 1981, Campbell worked for the Vancouver District Coroner's office and in 1996 was appointed BC Chief Coroner, a post in which he served until 2000.[2]

Early career[edit]

Originally from Ontario and of Scottish descent, after high school Campbell's grandfather found him a job digging ditches for coaxial cable.[3] Later he was a steel worker as a hand riveter in a boxcar plant in Hamilton. He joined the RCMP on a bet with a Hamilton municipal police officer. He spent about three years in uniform, but did not like to issue traffic tickets. He was transferred to the drug squad in Vancouver where he worked in street enforcement mainly regarding heroin, including undercover work. He started a drug squad in Langley. Throughout his RCMP tenure, he never laid a single marijuana charge.[3]

After serving in the RCMP for 12 years, the provincial chief coroner told him that the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would negatively impact his drug enforcement efforts and convinced him to become Vancouver's coroner. During the emerging AIDS pandemic, he became a strong advocate for progressive harm reduction policies, quipping that needle exchanges causing drug addiction "is like flies causing garbage". He served for 20 years, retiring as chief coroner for the province.[3]

As the city's former chief coroner, his life inspired a popular CBC Television drama called Da Vinci's Inquest.[1] The show was later followed by a spinoff, Da Vinci's City Hall, in which the Da Vinci character followed his real-life counterpart into politics.[4]


Campbell was elected mayor in the 2002 Vancouver municipal election as a member of the Coalition of Progressive Electors, by a large margin of 58% to 30% for his nearest opponent.

Shortly after Campbell's election, divisions began to emerge within his COPE party between a centrist group, led by Campbell and a more left-wing group.[5] On 14 December 2004, Campbell and councillors Jim Green, Raymond Louie and Tim Stevenson announced that they would form an independent caucus within COPE. The media quickly dubbed the bloc the "COPE Light" councillors (in contrast to the "COPE Classic" councillors).[6] In 2005, the moderate group formed the centre-left Vision Vancouver party, but Campbell announced he would not run for re-election.[7][8]


On 2 August 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Campbell's appointment by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson as a Liberal senator. Campbell completed his term as mayor before taking up his seat in the Canadian Senate.

On 29 January 2014, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau announced all Liberal senators, including Campbell, were removed from the Liberal caucus, and would continue sitting as Independents.[9] According to Senate Opposition leader James Cowan, the senators will still refer to themselves as Liberals even if they are no longer members of the parliamentary Liberal caucus.[10]

On 6 April 2016, Campbell left the Senate Liberal Caucus to sit as an Independent and later joined the Independent Senators Group. On 4 November 2019, he joined the Canadian Senators Group.[11] On 24 October, 2022, Campbell left the CSG to sit as a non-affiliated senator.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Biography, larrycampbell.coa
  2. ^ "Senate of Canada - Senator Larry W. Campbell". 11 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "The War on Drugs Has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer? -- Closing Plenary". Rice University's Baker Institute. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Da Vinci's City Hall - IMDB". Internet Movie Database. 25 October 2005. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  5. ^ Bula, Frances. "Campbell stakes out centre: Jim Green aims subtle threat, invitation at diverse group at dinner," Vancouver Sun, 31 March 2005, pp. B1.
  6. ^ Bula, Frances. "Mayor Campbell, councillors will form their own caucus," Vancouver Sun, 15 December 2004, pp. A1.
  7. ^ Paulsen, Monte (3 April 2008). "Vision's Three Would-Be Kings". The Tyee. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  8. ^ Smith, Charlie (9 March 2018). "COPE Classic, COPE Lite, and the 2018 Vancouver civic election". Georgia Straight. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  9. ^ Cudmore, James (29 January 2014). "Liberal leader says senators not welcome in caucus | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Trudeau's expulsion catches Liberal senators by surprise". Globe and Mail. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Senators List". Senate of Canada. September 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  12. ^ Lapointe, Mike (2 November 2022). "Tannas joins Senate Internal Economy deputy chair slate". The Hill Times. Retrieved 15 November 2022. Senator Larry Campbell's decision to leave the Canadian Senators Group on Oct. 24

External links[edit]