Margaret Campbell (politician)

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Margaret Campbell
MPP for St. George
In office
Preceded byAllan Lawrence
Succeeded bySusan Fish
Board of Control
In office
In office
City Councillor for Ward 2 (Regent Park and Rosedale)
In office
Serving with Michael Grayson[nb 1]
Succeeded byMichael Grayson & May Birchard
In office
Serving with May Birchard[nb 2]
Preceded byWilliam Dennison & May Birchard
Personal details
Margaret Elizabeth Fasken Baird

(1912-12-15)December 15, 1912
Toronto, Ontario
DiedApril 19, 1999(1999-04-19) (aged 86)
Toronto, Ontario
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Sterling Campbell
ChildrenSterling Campbell, Jr.
ProfessionSecurity analyst

Margaret Campbell (December 15, 1912 – April 19, 1999) was a politician in Ontario, Canada. She was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario who represented the downtown Toronto riding of St. George. Prior to her provincial role she served as a municipal councillor in Toronto from 1958 to 1962 and then as a member of the Board of Control from 1964 to 1969. She ran for mayor of Toronto in 1969 but came in second to William Dennison.


Born Margaret Elizabeth Fasken Baird, she was raised in Rosedale and attend Bishop Strachan School, University College and then Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1937. She married filmmaker and aviator Sterling Campbell in 1942. During the Second World War she worked in counter-intelligence for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).[1]

Her son Sterling Campbell served a term as a Liberal MPP from Sudbury.[2] Campbell had two daughters, Penelope (Bartok) and Susan (Makela).

Municipal politics[edit]

Her husband ran for city council in the 1956 election, but was unsuccessful. In the next city elections she ran herself, and was victorious in Ward 2. In the 1960 election she finished first in the ward, entitling her a position on Metro Council in addition to the Toronto seat. In 1966 she became the second woman[nb 3] to win a seat on the four member Board of Control and became the city's budget chief.

In the 1969 election she ran for mayor, attempting to become the first female mayor of the city. Her opponents were the NDP-linked incumbent William Dennison and the official Liberal candidate Stephen Clarkson. Campbell had been a member of the Progressive Conservative party for many years. Her mayoral campaign was run on an explicitly reform platform, calling for an end to megaprojects and the adoption of Jane Jacobs styled urbanism as advocated by David Crombie. She finished second to Dennison, losing by some 13,000 votes.

Provincial politics[edit]

She briefly left politics to serve as a provincial court judge. When Allan Lawrence retired from the legislature and opened the provincial seat of St. George she resigned her judgeship and ran for the Ontario Liberal Party, leaving the Tory party. St. George had been a staunchly Tory seat for decades, and Campbell faced a prominent opponent in Roy McMurtry, but she was victorious becoming the first woman elected as an Ontario Liberal Party MPP.[3] She was re-elected in 1975 and 1977.[4][5] She represented the riding until 1981, advocating on issues related to poverty, and in favour of women's and gay rights.[1] She resigned her seat prior to the 1981 election so that she could spend more time with her ailing husband.

In 1984, the Ontario Liberal Party established the Margaret Campbell Fund which supports female candidates who run for the party.[6]



  1. ^ Grayson was junior councillor.
  2. ^ Birchard was senior councillor.
  3. ^ The first was Jean Newman in 1956.


  1. ^ a b Gollom, Mark (April 26, 1999). "Worked as lawyer, judge, politician, and spy: Fought for gay and women's rights starting in the 1970s". National Post. p. 14.
  2. ^ "Election Ontario: Martel name still carries clout in Sudbury East campaign". The Globe and Mail. August 27, 1987.
  3. ^ "Liberals thump PCs in St. George, Huron". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: Canadian Press. March 16, 1973. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Table of vote results for all Ontario ridings". The Globe and Mail. September 19, 1975. p. C12.
  5. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9.
  6. ^ "Margaret Campbell Fund". Ontario Women's Liberal Commission. Retrieved August 25, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Other references[edit]

  • Obituary Margaret Campbell city councillor, MPP. Alan Barnes. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.: Apr 21, 1999. pg. 1

External links[edit]