For only the second time in its history the Canadian Space Agency will have a smooth transition between presidents as the Government of Canada announced that veteran public servant Lisa Campbell will lead Canada’s space agency. Campbell moves over from Veterans Affairs Canada where she was Associate Deputy Minister.
The last time there was a smooth transition between presidents was between William “Mac” Evans and Marc Garneau in 2001. Every other transition has included an interim president being named.
According to her Veteran Affairs biography “previously, she was Assistant Deputy Minister, Defence and Marine Procurement, Public Services and Procurement, leading the organization providing military and marine procurement solutions for Canada. Ms. Campbell worked at Canada’s competition authority as Senior Deputy Commissioner responsible for reviewing mergers and business conduct. She also enforced civil and criminal laws for truth in advertising.”
“Ms. Campbell has litigation experience in the private and public sectors, in the areas of criminal, employment and constitutional law. She obtained a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University (1988), an LL.B. from Dalhousie Law School (1991), and regularly presents and writes about law and technology issues.”
In a statement on Ms. Campbell’s experience, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Minister Bains said “Lisa Campbell has worked tirelessly in the service of Canadians throughout her career, and has the experience and abilities to move the Agency forward on future explorations. Her experience in defence procurement will hold her in good stead as she takes over some of the most important procurements for the Space sector. I’d like to thank Sylvain Laporte for his excellent work leading the Agency for the last five years, and wish him ever success in his future endeavours.”
Last year the Liberal government announced that Canada was going to the Moon and unveiled a new space strategy. In making that announcement the government committed $2.05 billion over 24 years to the space agency.
While Ms. Campbell has no experience in the space file, one reason she was was selected was to guide the CSA through the ongoing procurement process the government has committed to. However, aside from the procurement for Canada’s Moon plans, there are many other programs in need of funding which could lead to new procurements. They include the astronomy and Earth observation communities.
The choice of someone who does not have a science or technology background, nor any space experience, will come as a surprise to the space community. Ms. Campbell will most certainly have leaderships skills as she wouldn’t have been selected otherwise. Where she might lack in knowledge she’ll need to rely on CSA executives, Director Generals and the Science Advisor as needed.
Campbell becomes the first woman to be named president of Canada’s space agency on a full time basis, though Carole Lacombe did serve as interim president for just over a year in 2006.
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Lisa Campbell past experience
2018 – 2020
Associate Deputy Minister, Veterans Affairs Canada
2015 – 2018
Assistant Deputy Minister, Defence and Marine Procurement, Public Services and Procurement Canada
2014 – 2015
Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition, Mergers Branch, Competition Bureau
2010 – 2014
Deputy Commissioner, Fair Business Practices Branch, Competition Bureau
2009 – 2010
Acting Assistant Commissioner, Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
2007 – 2009
Senior Counsel and General Counsel, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
2003 – 2007
Senior Advisor to Deputy Minister and Legal Counsel, Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution of Canada
2002 – 2003
Associate, Employment litigation, Engelmann Gottheil
1996 – 2002
Legal Counsel, Justice Canada
1991 – 1996
Associate, Criminal defence litigation, Wakefield & Associates