Fonds RBSC-ARC-1798 - Ian Waddell fonds

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Ian Waddell fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Photographic material
  • Moving images

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on content of the fonds.

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Physical description

2.4 m of textual records
19 photographs
1 video cassette

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Ian Waddell was born November 11, 1942 in Glasgow, Scotland, to Isabel and Jack Waddell. His family moved to Canada when he was a child. He received bachelors degrees in history and law from the University of Toronto, a teaching diploma from the Ontario College of Education, and a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics.

Waddell articled in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1967 and his career has remained rooted in the area. His early career focused on public interest law, spending a year as Assistant City Prosecutor and working in other positions dealing with traffic, family, and criminal law. He then succeeded the founder of the Community Legal Assistance Society, becoming the organization's Legal Director in 1972. He remained in the position for two years, and during that time litigated Canada’s first class action lawsuit. He was also involved in various government boards and commissions during this time.

From 1974 to 1977, Waddell served as special counsel for Justice Thomas R. Berger’s Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry.

Waddell's career then took a political turn, and he campaigned for election to the Canadian Parliament. As a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP), he served for 14 years as a Member of the Canadian Parliament, first representing the Vancouver Kingsway riding (1979-1988) and later Port Moody-Coquitlam (1988-1993). In this position, Waddell acted as NDP critic for environment and energy--notably during the National Energy Program--and participated in the Meech Lake Accord.

From 1996 to 2001, Waddell was elected to the British Columbia Legislature where he served as Minister of Tourism, Culture & Small Business, Minister of Environment, Lands & Parks, and Minister on Intergovernmental Affairs. His work included earning the 2010 Olympic bid and growing Vancouver’s involvement in the film industry.

Waddell also participated politically on the international stage. As a member of Parliamentarians for Global Action, he became involved with advocating for the International Criminal Court.

In 2013, Waddell was appointed Queen’s Counsel by the Attorney General of British Columbia. Following political life, Waddell has remained active in legal affairs as a legal and government consultant. In addition, he’s an author and film producer.

Custodial history

The files were received directly from Ian Waddell.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records created by or collected by Ian Waddell during his legal and political career. It contains six series: Community law, Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Commission, Federal politics, Provincial politics, Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, and International works.Three series follow Waddell's career path (Community law, Provincial politics and Federal politics). The International work series spans both provincial and federal timelines and therefore is its own series. The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry and Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs are series that represent two important landmarks of Waddell's career that dealt with important environmental and aboriginal issues.

Files are often subject focused, although some pertain to meetings, events, and organizations. Subject files typically contain multiple document types, including correspondence, published and draft reports, speeches and lectures, press clippings, published copies and drafts of legislation, notes, news releases, and itineraries and agendas.

These files were received following the completion of Waddell's memoir, which is noteworthy due to the potential influence on his arrangement of files, the contents of some files, as well as the intermittent inclusion of some records well outside the predominant date range of a series or file.

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Physical condition

The records are in good condition. In some instances, photocopies have been made to prevent further loss of information due to fading of faxes, but the originals have been maintained. Some interleaving with tissue paper has also been done to assist with preservation.

Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds was acquired by the University of British Columbia Rare Books and Special Collections from Ian Waddell in July 2018.


The archivist arranged the fonds in six series, determined by the creator's own organization and labeling of the files as given to the archives. Generally, the contents of the fonds was clearly labeled and arranged by subject, with no additional arrangement imposed by the archivist (file were processed in the order they were removed from the box). However, the archivist has arranged some files and these instances are noted in the series description.

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  • English

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Fonds arranged and described by Kristina McGuirk, October 2018.

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