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Courtesy of Donald Campbell

Donald W. Campbell


“Psychologically, it has taken Canada a long time to become a Pacific country. People in British Columbia and Alberta don’t need much convincing. But by the time you get out to Ontario, the Asia Pacific starts to drop off.”

Donald W. Campbell


“With President Clinton and Prime Minister Chretien on Signing of NAFTA, 1993”. Courtesy of Donald Campbell.

One of the few Canadian diplomats to serve as deputy minister of both international trade and foreign affairs, Donald W. Campbell had an outstanding thirty-six-year career that contributed directly to Canadian economic growth and prosperity. Born in Drayton, Ontario in 1940, Campbell attended Waterloo University College before joining the Department of External Affairs in 1964. After early postings to Seattle, Kingston, London, and Nairobi, Campbell returned to Ottawa in the late 1970s, a decade defined by the worldwide energy crisis, to take on a number of increasingly senior energy-related assignments. After briefly serving as Canadian ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Campbell was recalled to Ottawa in 1985 to become assistant deputy minister for US affairs. Appointed senior ADM for US affairs in 1988, he was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the historic Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States of that year. Promoted to deputy minister of international trade in 1989, Campbell supervised the negotiation of the even more ambitious North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994, which contributed directly to economic growth and rising standards of living for Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans. As Canadian ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1997, he helped revitalize Canadian-Japanese relations. Between 1997 and 2000 Campbell served as deputy minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, playing a key role in such high-profile issues as the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel landmines, the creation of the International Criminal Court, and the Kosovo War. Campbell was also Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s Sherpa (personal representative) at G8 summits during this period. Awarded its Outstanding Achievement Award in 1999, Campbell retired from the public service the next year, going on to become Group President of CAE (a Canadian high technology company), Co-Chair of the Pacific Economic Council, and (the first) Distinguished Fellow of the Asia Pacific Foundation, among other positions. He is a recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee medal.

Further reading:

  • Allan Gotlieb, The Washington Diaries 1981-1989 (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2006).
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