Series - Convention records

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Convention records

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  • 1970 - 2003 (Creation)

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Physical description

Approximately 1.655 linear metres of textual records and other materials, including:

  • 8 B/W photographs (BC251-1001/1009)
  • 1 3.5" computer disk (file 432-11)

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The records in this series relate to the planning, organization, and execution of the provincial NDP conventions held to elect party executive and determine party policy and direction.

The provincial convention is perhaps the most important activity of the provincial NDP, alongside its election activities. Originally held annually (except in rare occasions) until 2001 when it became a bi-annual event, convention is where party policy is adopted and amended, discussion papers are circulated, reports from party executive and caucus members are heard, and elections for internal party positions are held. In addition, each year long-standing and active party members are selected by a committee to be inducted as Honourary Life Members (HLMs). Often during election years, the Federal NDP Leader would also attend the convention and address the BC provincial party members.

During the conventions, each electoral constituency would elect delegates to represent them at the convention, and submit any resolutions passed by their constituencies for consideration as Party policy. Constituency delegates at the convention would debate and vote upon policy (based on the submitted resolutions), as well as elect the party’s executive, made up of Table Officers (Party president, vice presidents, membership secretary, treasurer) and members-at-large. When necessary, the convention would also elect the party’s new leader. Each delegate would receive a convention kit upon arrival containing the minutes of the previous convention, reports from the party executives and standing committees, party financial reports, all policy to be considered that year, and other related materials. Conventions are traditionally presided over by the provincial party president, or by one of the vice-presidents, and tend to span several days. Important policy not able to be addressed or decided upon at convention may be referred to the Provincial Council for further discussion, and/or added to the resolutions under review at convention the following year. Over the years, many of the kits contained an explanation of Convention to new members (such as file 428-06, “1984 convention kit), which can be consulted for further information.

Convention organization was usually coordinated out of the provincial office, with one person tasked as the convention coordinator, supported by several committees, most notably the Convention Arrangements Committee (CAC) and the Resolutions Committee. In many cases, members of the provincial executive and internal party staff members (such as the Provincial Secretary, the Director of Organization, and/or the Director of Communications) would be members of the Convention Arrangements Committee, and would handle the coordination and planning of the event. The Resolutions Committee would receive resolutions sent in by constituencies (or submitted from regional conferences, as began occurring as of 1988), organize these into categories (such as Health, Economics, or Constitution and Party Affairs), and then determine an order of priority so the most pressing issues in each category would be given priority floor time. Constituencies could also submit Emergency Resolutions which were time-sensitive and generally related to recent provincial, national, or global events. Other convention organizing committees over time have included the Leadership Rules Committee, The Balloting Committee, the Credentials Committee, and the Harassment Committee.

Records in this series include correspondence, budget documents, drafts, convention kit materials and other public communications, memoranda and bulletins, meeting agendas and minutes, and other related materials.

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Physical condition

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Upon receipt, boxes labelled "Convention" were found to contain materials from a wide array of individual creators over several conventions, suggesting that once the convention handbooks and convention minutes were available, the convention organizing records themselves were likely regularly boxed and put into storage. Individual creators who appear to have materials in this series include the Provincial Secretary, the Director of Communications, the Director of Administration, the Convention Coordinator, and Chairs of various convention-related committees. However, it was often impossible to determine, beyond a change in file-naming conventions, who the individual creator of each file was, and often multiple individual creators have contributed to the records documenting a single annual convention. As such, files in this series have generally been arranged chronologically as much as possible without disturbing the received order. A separate box containing only records pertaining to the Honourary Life Members Committee was also received, and its materials have been kept in a subseries. In some cases throughout the series, such as files 433-10 to 434-07, a file-coding system appears to have been used, but in this particular subset, files from 2001 and 2003 are interleaved without any apparent order. This received order has been maintained.

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Access to files 427-05, 427-07, 428-01/02, 429-05, 430-02, and 430-04 is restricted until 2112 due to the presence of personally identifying information.

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Associated materials

References to convention planning and assessment appear throughout the "Records of the table officers, provincial executive, and provincial council" series of this fonds.

File 444-22, "Prov. executive May 23 Vancouver" in the "Records of the table officers, provincial executive, and provincial council" series of this fonds, contains a copy of comments submitted by 1998 convention attendees after the convention.

File 447-07, "Mar 21, 1998 prov. executive" of the above series contains a copy of Glen Clark's speech to the 1998 Convention attendees, as well as a copy of "A summary of NDP policy 1961-1997".

Files 421-12, 421-13, and 422-07 in the "Records of the Director of Organization" series of this fonds contain convention related materials from 1992 (421-13) and 1994 (421-12, 422-07).

Files 452-11, 452-12, 453-03, 453-04, and 454-12 in the "Women's Rights Committee (WRC) records" series of this fonds also contain convention related materials from 1988 (452-12), 1990 (453-03), 1992 (453-04), 1994 (454-12), and 1995 (452-11).

Several other related records can be found in the "Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) records" series. File 465-12 contains a copy of the convention minutes of the 1941 Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) Convention, and file 465-14 contains a copy of the 1960 CCF convention handbook (including minutes, reports, resolutions, and a copy of the CCF constitution). File 465-17 contains a report (convention handbook) of the 1946 provincial CCF convention, and file 465-18 contains materials relating to the 1945 CCF convention.

File 472-07 in the "Records of the Director of Administration," contains post-convention recommendations, ca. 1982-1988.

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