Monday, April 12, 2004

ALEXANDER, NAPOLEON, CHURCHILL. CAMPBELL?

When I first saw this story I seriously thought it was a late April Fool's Day joke. Apparently, Kim Campbell has been named one of the 50 "most important political leaders" of all time. Yes, that Kim Campbell.

This list appears in a new reference book, 'The Almanac of World History' published by the National Geographic Society. Jane Sunderland, a spokesperson for the society said, "Given that there have not been that many females who have led nations, we chose to include her."

James Marsh, the editor of the Candian Encyclopedia takes a much more reasoned stance saying, "I don't think Kim Campbell should even make a list of great Canadian leaders."

Indeed.

A complete list is not available online but other Canadian news outlets report that such historical figures as Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Churchill, Cleopatra, Abraham Lincoln and Charlemagne were included. To choose fifty leaders from all time is a pretty short list. I think that on a list of fifty all of the above people would be debatable. But Campbell on a list of the 'greatest leaders'? She was a leader for 132 days, and she was a bad one at that. I don't know if Margaret Thatcher was on the list but clearly if you're going to choose a female prime minister she would be the one. To then crowd a list of fifty with Campbell just seems ridiculous.

Back in 1999, while I was still in highschool, I spent the year compiling a list of the one hundred most influential people of the last 1000 years as a sort of millenium project. It did not even cross my mind to include Campbell on such a list. In fact, despite being a staunch Canadian nationalist, I considered very few Canadians, and on a list of fifty political leaders I don't think I would be able to include any Canadians at all. According to this CBC story, however, both Sir John and Mackenzie King made the National Geographic list.

I really think National Geographic should stick to maps.

Posted by Matthew @ 1:19 AM