Canada 2020 launches initiative studying rise and fall of Canada’s female First Ministers

by Alex Paterson. Posted March 13, 2019


NO SECOND CHANCES presented by CANADA 2020


8 March 2019 (OTTAWA) – Since 1867, only 12 women have served as either premier or prime minister in Canada. There have, in fact, been more than three times as many First Ministers named John than there have been women. Furthermore, when women have served in Canada’s senior-most political roles, they do so in more challenging circumstances, serve roughly half as long as their male counterparts, and when they stand for re-election, they lose.

Today, on International Women’s Day 2019, Canada 2020 is proud to launch NO SECOND CHANCES, a special multimedia project studying the rise and fall of Canada’s twelve female First Ministers. The leadership of these remarkable women spans three decades, crosses political stripes, and extends from coast to coast to coast. No Second Chances is about examining the experiences of these women – and what their stories reflect about us as Canadians.

The results will be showcased in a 10-part podcast series featuring new interviews with the First Ministers, plus their staff, colleagues, family and media who covered their journey. The web portal, Canada2020.ca/NoSecondChances, is home to new photos, videos and written reflections on each of these twelve women. Finally, the project will culminate on June 12th for a live event in Ottawa where Canada’s past female First Ministers will be together for the first time in Canadian history.

Kate Graham, Senior Fellow of Canada 2020 and project lead:

“In 2019, why don’t we see more women in Canada’s most senior political roles? No Second Chances is an important opportunity to dig into this very question – starting with discussions with the few women who have been there. There is much we can learn about Canadian politics, and about us as Canadians, through this project – and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time.”

Alex Paterson, Executive Director of Canada 2020:

“No Second Chances is unlike anything Canada 2020 has done before. No Second Chances is a unique lens on a very old story, and the Canada 2020 team has travelled across the country interviewing these remarkable women in hopes that by giving their stories the biggest possible platform, we can change how we think about women in leadership in Canada.”

NO SECOND CHANCES was launched today at the Canada 2020 Studio at a sold-out event featuring former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, former Alberta Premier Alison Redford and the CBC’s Vassy Kapelos. The first episode of the podcast launches March 18th, and will run for 10 parts until the culminating event on June 12th, 2019.


Quick Links:

  • canada2020.ca/nosecondchances
  • Podcast “No Second Chances” available on iTunes, Google Podcasts
    • First episode: March 18th, 2019
  • Video trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqLBurU5SlQ

For more information, interviews or background, please contact:

Mira Ahmad
Communications & Operations Manager, Canada 2020
mira@canada2020.ca , (613) 220-9163

The First Ministers:

  • Rita Johnston, Premier of British Columbia (April 1991 – November 1991)
  • Nellie Cournoyea, Premier of the Northwest Territories (November 1991 – November 1995)
  • Catherine Callbeck, Premier of Prince Edward Island (January 1993 – October 1996)
  • Kim Campbell, Prime Minister of Canada (June 1993 – November 1993)
  • Pat Duncan, Premier of the Yukon (May 2000 – November 2002)
  • Eva Aariak, Premier of Nunavut (November 2008 – November 2013)
  • Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland & Labrador (December 2010 – January 2014)
  • Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia (March 2011 – July 2017)
  • Alison Redford, Premier of Alberta (October 2011 – March 2014)
  • Pauline Marois, Premier of Quebec (September 2012 – April 2014)
  • Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario (February 2013 – June 2018)
  • Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta (May 2015 – Present)

Additional interviews and participants:

  • Rona Ambrose, Former Leader, Conservative Party of Canada
  • Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada
  • Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star
  • Bob Fife, The Globe & Mail
  • Keith Baldrey, Global TV
  • Vaughn Palmer, The Vancouver Sun
  • Dr. Sylvia Bashevkin, University of Toronto
  • Vassy Kapelos, Host, CBC’s Power & Politics

About Canada 2020:

Canada 2020 is Canada’s leading, independent, progressive think-tank. Founded in 2006, Canada 2020 produces original research, hosts events, and starts conversations about Canada’s future. Canada 2020’s goal is to build a community of progressive ideas and people that will move and shape governments. For more, visit canada2020.ca