Dalton Kingsley Camp was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick, on September 11, 1920. He served in the Canadian army from 1942 to 1945. After the war, he attended the University of New Brunswick, Columbia University and was a Beaverbrook overseas scholar at the London School of Economics from 1948-49. Later in life, he received honorary degrees from St. Thomas University, Acadia University and Ryerson University.
Dalton Camp met with great success in advertising. He took his first position as a junior copywriter in 1949. Just three years later, in 1952, Dalton was appointed copy chief at the firm Locke Johnson and his salary more then tripled. That year, he combined advertising with his interest in politics and ran the Progressive Conservative advertising campaign in the New Brunswick provincial election. Camp continued working in the backrooms of provincial election campaigns for several years, leading Robert Stanfield's successful bid to become premier of Nova Scotia in 1956.
At the federal level, Camp served as president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1964 to 1969. He is remembered for his key role, in 1966, in prompting Canada's first leadership review, which dethroned Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and brought Robert Stanfield to the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party in his place. Camp came close to announcing his own candidacy for the party leadership in 1967.
During his life, Camp managed some 27 leadership campaigns, including Brian Mulroney's in 1983, and in the process became of one Canada's most articulate political commentators and observers. He is well remembered for his participation, together with Eric Kierans, and Stephen Lewis, on CBC Radio's political panel, Morningside, hosted by Peter Gzowski.
Camp is also admired for his four published works: Gentleman, Players and Politicians (1970), Points of Departure (1979), Eclectic Eel (1981) and Whose Country is it Anyway? (1995), as well as his hundreds of insightful newspaper columns. Camp continued to write a syndicated column on political issues for the Toronto Star almost until his death.
He was inducted as an Officer of The Order of Canada in 1994. Camp was truly a participant, commentator and observer of political processes who sought to inform with a sharpness and wit which attracted many faithful listeners and readers. He had great respect for the merit of diverging opinions and an insatiable appetite for independence of thought, freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas. He was an ardent believer in democracy, the Canadian political party system and the primordial role of pluralist and independent media outlets, which he referred to as "great organs of public opinion".
These values may have inspired Dalton Camp to become one of the founding members of the advisory council of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, and a lifelong supporter of the CBC.
- Camp, Dalton. An Electric Eel. Ottawa: Deneau, 1981.
- Gentlemen, Players and Politicians. Ottawa: Deneau & Greenberg, 1970.
- Points of Departure. Ottawa: Deneau and Greenberg, 1979.
- Whose Country is this Anyway? Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1995.
- Newman, David. "Dalton Camp, 1920-2002". Suite 101. March 22, 2002.
- Stevens, Geoffrey. The Player: The Life & Times of Dalton Camp. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 2003.
- "Tory strategist, commentator Dalton Camp dies". CBC news online. March 19, 2002.
- Zolf, Larry. "Dalton Camp is no Summer Camp". CBC news online. March, 2002.