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Canada’s only woman prime minister has some advice for Hillary Clinton

Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell
Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell
Christopher Ruppel/Getty Images

The first and only country leader in North American history, Canada’s Kim Campbell, is eager to welcome Hillary Clinton to her tiny club.

Over the course of this election, Campbell — who was prime minister of Canada in 1993 and a conservative — has been speaking out in support of the Democratic frontrunner and sharing her unique perspective on what it’s like to lead a North American country as a woman.

Campbell on the cover of Canada’s largest women’s magazine, Chatelaine.
KimCapbell.com

Campbell has observed that sexism was driving a lot of the criticism about Clinton, and that having a woman president could "change the landscape" of politics.

"There's just an unwillingness even to accept the fact that she [Clinton] has run an incredible campaign," she told Canada’s CTV News on October 30. "She actually has been a remarkably effective politician fighting this candidate [Trump] that none of the men in the Republican Party could get a handle on."

If elected to the White House, Campbell said Clinton should be prepared to be held to a higher standard.

"When you are a non-prototypical leader," she said, "many people are very uncomfortable — you don’t look or sound like the people that they’re used to. So they try and find ways of validating that discomfort."

Campbell was Canada’s prime minister only for a brief four months. She took over from her predecessor, Brian Mulroney, who resigned amid abysmal approval ratings. A general election was called early during her tenure, and despite her popularity, her party, the Progressive Conservatives, lost the vote.

In Campbell’s view, the public would get used to having Clinton as leader — it would eventually become the new normal.

"As she occupies that job, people will get more used to the idea of a woman doing it. You change the landscape that tells you how the world works," she said.

Campbell had harsh words for Trump

As much as the conservative has been cheering Clinton’s efforts, she has also been a vocal critic of Donald Trump.

"He has described himself as a sexual predator," Campbell said in an interview about the Access Hollywood hot mic incident, in which Trump is heard on tape bragging about groping women without their consent. "The behavior he has admitted to and celebrated in himself is predation."

Campbell also told the CBC, "Unconsented sexual touching is a sexual assault. And somebody who does that, who thinks he has a right to do that, who does it thinking that it’s a reflection of his value because he’s a celebrity, et cetera, I mean that is predation."

Campbell called Trump’s remarks about Clinton’s stamina "hilarious." "[Clinton] has amazing stamina," Campbell said. "And I’ve been watching her since the primaries began and thinking this woman has the adrenal gland the size of a football."