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New Democratic Party of British Columbia fonds Subseries
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1986 provincial election records

British Columbia’s 34th General Election took place on October 22nd, 1986. Prior to the election, the BC New Democratic Party held 22 seats in the Legislature; under the leadership of Bob Skelly, the Party fielded a full 69 candidates for the 1986 general election, emerging yet again with 22 seats, and approximately 42.6% of the popular vote. The incumbent Social Credit party, now under the leadership of Bill Vander Zalm, took the remaining 47 seats and returned to power. The next general election in British Columbia was not held until 1991.

Records in this subseries include candidate biographical statements and photographs, campaign literature and public communications, correspondence, drafts, memos, media and campaign strategy documents, committee reports and minutes, and other related materials. These records appear to have been predominantly created by Gerry Scott, Provincial secretary, or in some cases, Soren Bech, Director of Communications.

1988 federal election records

These records relate to Provincial NDP activities in support of the November 21, 1988 Federal Election. During this election, the Federal NDP party secured 43 seats, 19 of which were in British Columbia. Records in this subseries appear to have been created by the Provincial Secretary, Hans Brown, and were kept at the central office of the NDP.

Records in this subseries include party strategic documents such as the Spring Campaign and Fall Campaigns for membership, fundraising, and political support; committee minutes and communications such as the Revenue Sharing Task Force and the Revenue Generating Task Force; correspondence and public communications; surveys; notes and drafts; and other related materials.

1991 provincial election records

British Columbia's 35th General Election was held on October 17th, 1991. Prior to the election the NDP held 22 seats in the legislature, and they emerged from the 1991 election with 51, taking power with Mike Harcourt as the newly elected Premier of British Columbia. Though the Social Credit party had previously been in power since 1975, a series of scandals and shifts in social policy negatively affected the party's public standing, culminating in the conflict of interest scandal surrounding Premier Bill Vander Zalm's sale of his Fantasy Gardens flower garden and theme park, which led to his resignation as premier. These events opened a window of opportunity for the BC ND, who campaigned strongly on the theme of "It's time for a change." The next general election was not held in British Columbia until 1996.

Records in this series have been created by two distinct creators:

  • Files 400-02 to 404-11 created by Hans Brown, Provincial Secretary
  • Files 404-12 to 407-03 created by Ron Johnson, Director of Communications
    Records include correspondence, drafts, notes, campaign literature and public communications, media clippings, budgetary documents, candidate biographies, strategy documents, minutes and agendas, polls, and other related materials.

1993 federal election records

Records in this series relate to the British Columbia NDP's activities in support of the 1993 federal election.

The 35th Canadian federal general election was held on October 25, 1993. During this time, the BC NDP Central Office became an organizing hub for regional campaigns, with BC candidates running for 32 federal seats in the election. However, the Federal NDP party, under the leadership of Audrey McLaughlin, fared poorly in the 1993 election, securing only 9 seats. This was reflected in British Columbia, where all but two of the Federal NDP MP's lost their seats. The next federal election did not occur until 1997.

Records in this series have been predominantly created by Jim Kirk, Director of Communications (files 407-04 to 408-10). Files 408-11 to 409-05 were located in the Executive Secretary's office at the time of appraisal, though their creator is uncertain; file 409-05 appears to have been created by Sherry Hyde, Director of Administration.

Records include correspondence, memos, policy and strategy documents, public communications, campaign advertisements and media scripts, clippings, pamphlets, polls, minutes, meeting agendas, and other related materials.

1996 provincial election

Records in this subseries relate to the BC NDP's activities leading up to and following the 1996 Provincial General Election. The 36th Provincial General Election was called on April 30, 1996, and held on May 28, 1996. The BC NDP, under the leadership of Glen Clark, ran a full 75 candidates in the election. Heading into the election the NDP held a 51 seat majority, but Mike Harcourt's resignation surrounding the "Bingogate Scandal" (see: the "Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society" subseries in the "Legal proceedings, investigations, and inquiries" series of this fonds) affected the party's public perception, at a time when the BC Liberal party was gaining popularity. Ultimately, the BC NDP secured a narrow majority government, with 39 seats, while the Liberals, previously holding only 17 seats, retained the Official Opposition with 33 seats.

Records in this subseries have been created by the following individuals:

  • Files 409-06 to 410-16, the majority of the files in this subseries, have been created by Jim Kirk, Director of Communications
  • File 410-17 appears to have been created by Hans Brown, former Provincial Secretary and Campaign Manager for the 1996 election
  • Files 410-18 to 411-04 created by Sherry Hyde, Director of Administration
  • File 411-05 appears to have been created by Brian Gardiner, Provincial Secretary

Files include polls, correspondence, memos, drafts and notes, public communications, clippings, financial documents, and other materials related to the 1996 election. File 411-04 contains correspondence around the implementation of recent changes to the Election Act, as well as challenges to the revised Election Act. File 411-05 includes court documents and legal correspondence about a judicial recount in the Okanagan-Boundary electoral district following the election.

1997 federal election records

Records in this series relate to provincial NDP activities in support of the 1997 Federal Election, called on April 26, 1997, and held on June 2, 1997. The federal NDP, under the leadership of Alexa McDonough, managed to regain official party status (lost after securing only 9 seats in the 1993 federal election) by winning 21 seats. The next federal election was not held until 2000.

In British Columbia, former Provincial Secretary Gerry Scott was engaged as the BC Campaign Manager, and current Provincial Secretary Brian Gardiner joined the Communications Working Group of the Elections Planning Committee (EPC). These records appear to have been created by Brian Gardiner, Provincial Secretary, and include public communications, memoranda, messaging documents, newsletters, candidate biographies, correspondence, reports, polls, and other related materials.

2000 federal election records

Records in this series relate to the British Columbia NDP's activities in support of the 2000 federal election.

Held on November 27, 2000, the 37th general election was called early by Liberal Party Prime Minister Jean Chretien. The federal NDP, under the leadership of Alexa McDonough, succeeded in securing 13 seats in Parliament, a loss of 8 seats from the previous election in 1997. The BC NDP also did not fare well in the federal election, possibly due to the resignation of Premier Glen Clark in August of 1999 surrounding allegations that he had accepted favours in return for approving a casino application. The next federal election was not held until 2004.

Records in this series have been made by multiple creators. Files 412-01 to 412-04 were created by Ed Lavalle, Provincial Secretary. The creator of files 412-05 to 412-15 is uncertain, but appear to be the Director of Communications. Similarly, the creator of files 412-16 to 412-21 is uncertain, but appears to be Ron Stipp, Director of Organization.

Files include correspondence, memos, public communications, polls, candidate biographies, clippings, draft advertisements and promotional materials, agendas and minutes, and other related materials.

2001 provincial election records

Records in this subseries relate to BC NDP activity surrounding the 37th provincial general election in BC, held on May 16, 2001. Though the Party ran a full slate of 79 candidates in the 2001 election, the BC NDP’s public perception was still suffering as a result of the media-dubbed “Bingogate scandal” which had led to Glen Clark’s resignation as Premier in August of 1999. Under the leadership of Ujjal Dosanjh, the former Attorney General of BC who had successfully won the NDP leadership race in February of 2000, the New Democratic Party succeeded in retaining only 2 of their previous 39 seats in the provincial legislature, those of incumbents Joy McPhail (Vancouver-Hastings) and Jenny Kwan (Vancouver-Mount Pleasant). The BC Liberals, under the leadership of former Vancouver mayor Gordon Campbell, won the remaining 77 seats. The next provincial election was not held until 2005.

The records in this series were received by RBSC in one box; though their contents suggest multiple individual creators, it is difficult to determine at a file-by-file level which files were created by whom. Based on an examination of the contents of the files and notes supplied by the appraising archivist, the likely creators of these files are Ed Lavalle, Provincial Secretary and Acting Campaign Manager for the 2001 election, and either the Director of Communications or David Bieber, Communications Officer for the BC NDP.

Materials in this subseries include correspondence, polls, candidate nomination materials, public communications, campaign literature, media clippings, notes, meeting agendas and minutes, candidate biographies and photographs, financial documents, and other related materials. Certain items not directly related to the election were intermingled with loose materials discovered in the box; they have been left in their received order and can be found in file 415-01.

2004 federal election records

Records in this subseries relate to the BC NDP’s activities in support of the 2004 Canadian federal election.

The 38th Canadian federal election was held on June 28, 2004, following the dissolution of the previous House of Commons on May 23rd, 2004 by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the advice of Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. The federal New Democratic Party, now under the leadership of Jack Layton, ran a full slate of 308 candidates, and managed to secure 19 seats, up from the 14 seats held at the time of dissolution, with 5 of these seats secured in British Columbia. The next federal election was not held until 2006.

Records in this subseries have been made by two different individual creators. Files 424-10 to 424-21 have been created by David Bieber, Director of Communications. Files 425-01 to 425-05 have been created by Russ Neely, Director of Organization.

Files include correspondence, polls, reports, strategy and messaging documents, reports, notes, meeting minutes and agendas, public communications, and other related materials.

By-elections, civic elections, and other electoral materials

This subseries consists of files from several different individual creators, relating primarily to by-elections and civic elections, with some materials in file 398-11 that relate to the federal electoral district of Okanagan-Shushwap.

Elections covered by the series include:

  • The 1988 Surrey municipal election, in which the Surrey Civic Electors ran as an NDP-supported party
  • The 1988 federal election in the newly created riding of Okanagan-Shushwap, in which Lyle MacWilliam of the NDP ran and won
  • The 1989 Cariboo by-election, called after the death of MLA Alexander Fraser, in which NDP member David Zirnhelt was elected.
  • The 1989 Oak Bay-Gordon Head by-election, called after the resignation of MLA Brian Smith, in which NDP member Elizabeth Cull was elected.
  • The 1994 Matsqui by-election, called after the resignation of MLA Peter Dueck, in which NDP member Sam Wagar was originally uncontested for NDP nomination in the riding, until a controversy surrounding his Wiccan religious beliefs prompted a second nomination election, which Wagar lost by two votes to Lynn Fairall. In the election, Fairall was defeated by Liberal Party member Mike de Jong.
  • The 1995 Abbotsford by-election, called after the resignation of MLA Harry de Jong, in which NDP member Rollie Kieth was defeated by Liberal Party member John van Dongen.
  • The 1997 Surrey-White Rock by-election, called after the resignation of MLA Wilf Hurd, in which NDP member David Thompson was defeated by Liberal Party member Gordon Hogg.

Creators included in this subseries include:

  • Elaine Bernard, Provincial President (files 398-10/11)
  • Ron Johnson, Communications Director (files 398-12 to 399-02)
  • Carol Adams, Communications officer (file 399-03)
  • Hans Brown, Provincial Secretary (files 399-04/05)
  • Lin Rubin, Director of Administration (file 399-06)
  • Patrice Pratt, Provincial President (file 399-07)
  • Sherry Hyde, Director of Administration (file 399-08)
  • Brian Gardiner, Provincial Secretary (files 399-09 to 400-01)

The subseries includes correspondence, media clippings, drafts, campaign materials, leaftlets, public communcations and memoranda, polls, and other related materials.

Candidate biographies

This subseries contains photographs and brief biographical portraits of NDP candidates, used prior to and during election campaigns. In most cases, after nomination, the Provincial Secretary would request photographs and a brief biography for use in the creation of promotional materials and press releases. These would often be updated before each election period. In some cases a standard form was used, which the candidate would fill out; in others, the candidate submitted their own documents. Records include those of many former Party leaders, including David Barrett, Ujjal Dosanjh, Michael Harcourt, Robert Skelly, and Robert Strachan. The subseries appears to have been added to by multiple Provincial Secretaries, and though different naming conventions were followed, a general alphabetic order was maintained.

Files in this subseries include items such as textual records, drafts, clippings, printed materials, photographs and related media.

Files related to Robin Blencoe

Subseries contains court documents, media clippings, correspondence, and other materials related to the trial of Robin Blencoe.

Blencoe was an NDP MLA who went on to serve in the Cabinet of Mike Harcourt as Minister of Municipal Affairs (1991-1993), Minister of Government Services (1993-1995) and the Minister Responsible for Sport and Commonwealth Games of British Columbia (1993-1995). In 1994, several allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Blencoe and were closely followed by the media, eventually forcing him from office in 1995. During the hearings, one of the plaintiffs submitted an application to the BC Supreme Court to name the New Democratic Party as a party in the case on the basis of vicarious liability, but the application was dismissed. Ultimately a BC Human Rights tribunal ruled against Blencoe in the case, and ordered him to pay $5,000 to the plaintiff.

Due to delays of the tribunal hearings however, the original claims were not resolved within the first 30 months since the original filing, and Blencoe sought to have the case dismissed by the BC Supreme Court as a violation of his Charter rights. The motion for dismissal was denied, but the BC Court of Appeals later ruled in Blencoe's favour and ordered the charges stayed. Blencoe's case became national news when the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada (Blencoe v. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission), [2000] 2 S.C.R. 307 ), where a 5-4 ruling overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal, and held that the 30 month delay did not violate the Charter or administrative law.

Files related to the David Stockell case

Records included in this subseries relate to a provincial court case, known as Friesen v. Hammell, brought against three NDP MLA’s, Premier Glen Clark, and the NDP itself, in which the respondents were accused of electoral fraud. The case took place from late 1996, moving through various appeals until August 2000, when it was finally overturned and the original respondents were acquitted.

Shortly before the dropping of the writ for the May 28, 1996 provincial election in British Columbia, then Minister of Finance Elizabeth Cull tabled a pre-election balanced budget in the legislature, on which incumbent NDP candidate Glen Clark campaigned, claiming it was an example of the NDP’s sound fiscal management. While the NDP narrowly lost the popular vote with 39.45% to the Liberal’s 41.82%, the party succeeded in securing 39 seats to the Liberal’s 33, and Glen Clark renewed his mandate as Premier. Shortly after the election however, newly appointed Finance Minister Andrew Petter completed a budgetary review, and concluded that in fact, the budget for 1996 would not be balanced, contradicting the projections that Cull had tabled before the election for the 1995/96 and 1996/97 budgets. This sparked public controversy, and the media began referring to the episode as the “Fudge-it Budget” scandal. Following this, David Stockell, a resident of Kelowna, founded a group called HELP BC (an acronym for Help Eradicate Lying Politicians) with the intention of launching a court case against the Clark and the New Democratic Party, claiming the party had defrauded voters. The group received funding for its case from the National Citizen’s Coalition (NCC), a conservative lobby group with a strong base in Alberta, and political support from the BC Liberals and others. David Stockell had in fact voted Liberal in the 1996 election and therefore could not name himself as a petitioner in the court case; instead, HELP BC began an outreach campaign to ask members of the public who had voted for the NDP on the basis of its budgetary promises to step forward as petitioners. Three British Columbians from different ridings were identified: Leonard Friesen of the Surrey Green Timbers riding, Holly Kuzenko of New Westminster, and Mildred Umbarger of Rossland Trail. The initial court case was brought forward as a class proceeding, against not only the MLA’s of each riding (Sue Hammell of Surrey Green Timbers, Graeme Bowbrick of New Westminster, and Ed Conroy of Rossland Trail), but also all electoral district MLA’s, electoral officers, Glen Clark, and the NDP itself. The trial began at the end of 1996, and proceeded through various appeals, with the NDP and other respondents eventually being dismissed from the proceedings except for the three MLA’s initially named – though in January 1999, the BC Court of Appeals ruled that the case could go to full trial in the British Columbia Supreme Court. In August of 2000 however, the case was finally thrown out, and the respondents acquitted.

Records include court documents, drafts and research notes, correspondence, media clippings and transcripts, opinion polls, and other related materials.

Honourary Life Membership Committee records

This subseries contains records pertaining to the Honourary Life Members (HLM) Committee. Each year, the committee, often made up of three individuals, would receive nominations from constituency associations including biographical sketches and letters of reference in support of long-standing and dedicated members. The committee would review the standing and contributions of these nominees, and would select candidates to be awarded Honourary Life Member status at the upcoming NDP provincial convention. Since at least the mid-1970's the standard number of annual HLM inductees has been 10, often with 2 alternates selected. Nominees not selected for the year in question are often kept on file by the committee for consideration the following convention year, and in some instances when conventions have not occurred yearly, up to 20 members will be selected.

File 434-21 contains a document from 1980 that reproduces the text printed on the member cards given to HLMs at convention:

"The cause of socialism is advance by the efforts of millions of dedicated individuals who remain anonymous,
To honour them, our convention decision is to proclaim the bearer of this card as one who, by courage and perserverance, illuminates the pages of our history.
Honourary Life Membership is the highest form of recognition the New Democratic Pary of British Columbia can bestow."

Records in this subseries include correspondence, convention materials, clippings, public communicaitons, forms, and other related materials.

Multicultural committee records

Files in this subseries reflect the function and activities of the Multicultural Committee of the BC NDP, including its various subcommittees and liaisons.

According to a “Proposed Statement of Purpose” contained in file 460-01, the Multicultural Committee of the BC NDP was established by the Provincial Executive on November 3, 1990 as a means of connecting better with cultural and linguistic constituent communities, and to support the particular needs, struggles, and interests of those communities. As a whole, the committee aimed to make Party material available in a broader range of translations, introduce relevant resolutions at Convention, organize workshops and participate in community cultural events, and encourage both the Party and the provincial government to consider the broader needs of British Columbia’s diverse communities. In 1992, the Committee also began running a regular page in the Democrat, the party’s newspaper.

Like most BC NDP committees, the Multicultural Committee was headed by a Steering Committee which included two Co-Chairs, a Secretary, a Treasurer, past-Chairs, a member of the Democrat Committee, several members at large, and various liaisons and representatives from other parts of the BC NDP; this structure evolved over time as the committee established itself. In 1993, the Steering Committee consisted of "16 Steering Committee members plus four members at large for a total of 20 voting members. ...In addition, there will be non-voting members: two Minister's staff and the Multicultural Organizer" (from file 460-02). In 1991, the Committee engaged a Multicultural organizer, a paid staff position that was terminated later by the incoming government, and reinstated in a part-time capacity in 1993. Various subcommittees were formed within the Multicultural committee as well on either a standing or adhoc basis, such as the Membership, Education, Resolutions, Policy, and Working subcommittees. File 459-14 (under the March 10, 1992 tab) contains a "Strategy and Tactics" document that further outlines the intended outcomes and methods of the committee.

Items in this subseries include meeting notices, agenda and minutes, visioning documents, correspondence, public communications, clippings, reports, memos, and other related materials.

Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society records

Subseries consists of records related to the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society, its related organizations, and the various commissions and investigations into its activities, 1988-2001.

The Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society (NCHS) was a non-profit organization created by the CCF in 1954 to hold properties, provide event spaces, and support the organizing efforts of what would become the New Democratic Party. One of its primary methods of fundraising was through bingos. The formation of the NCHS was largely assisted by David Daniel Stupich, a former chicken farmer and accountant, who was later elected as the Nanaimo MLA for the NDP in 1963. Stupich remained heavily involved in Nanaimo politics, acting as a provincial NDP MLA from 1963-1969 and 1972-1988, and then as a federal NDP representative for the Nanaimo-Cowichan district from 1988 until 1993.

Under provincial regulations at the time, at least 25% of a bingo’s gross revenues were to be donated to charity. However, in 1988 the RCMP received a tip from Frank Murphy, one of the directors of the NCHS Charities Society (NCHS C/S) concerning the misdirection of funds. The RCMP proceeded to investigate, but the case failed to proceed due to lack of evidence. In May of 1992, allegations about the NCHS’s redirection of charity funds reached the media, including allegations that some of these funds had been redirected for NDP use, and the event quickly became known among the press as “Bingogate”. This prompted the RCMP to re-open an investigation (dubbed "Project Enigma"), and in 1993 search warrants were obtained. The investigation led to charges against the NCHS and several of its related societies in 1994 but, on the recommendations of Special Prosecutor Ace Henderson, not against any individuals involved. As the details of the case came to light, the NDP faced increasing public pressure to account for its actions, and in 1994, the services of Ron Parks, a forensics accountant with Lindquist Avey Macdonald Baskerville, were engaged to further analyze the collected evidence. The Parks Report, as it became known, was submitted in May of 1995, and among many other allegations, it suggested that in 1983-1984, the NCHS had funneled money ear-marked for charities into the NDP-owned Democrat Publications, which the NDP then attempted to pay back in 1993 as the NCHS allegations reached the media. This led to public accusations of a cover-up on the part of the NDP, and following the submission of the Parks Report, Bill M 207, the “Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society Public Inquiry Act” was passed in the legislature in 1995, calling for a public commission to investigate the activities of the NCHS. Headed for the majority of its time by Murray Smith and publicly known as the Smith Commission of Inquiry, the public inquiry began in late 1996, and continued until 2001. In 1999, at the age of 77, David Stupich pleaded guilty to fraud and the illegal operation of a lottery. He died in February of 2006.

Subseries includes court documents (primarily related to the Smith Commission of Inquiry), media clippings and transcripts, correspondence, public communications, reports, drafts, and other related material.

Policy review committee (PRC) records

Files in this subseries reflect the functions and activities of the Policy Review Committee (PRC) of the BC NDP, including its various policy subcommittees and committee liaisons.

The PRC functions as an aggregate body, composed of policy subcommittees formed by a motion of the Provincial Council to review and/or develop policies for the Party around a particular issue or topic. Policy subcommittees could be formed to respond to specific areas where a Party policy response was required immediately, or they could exist as standing subcommittees, as was often the case. Membership in any subcommittee is open to Party members in good standing, and committee membership is re-established on an annual basis. Each subcommittee has a Chair (or two Co-Chairs), and the Policy Review Committee is composed of all chairs of the policy subcommittees. Standing subcommittees have included: Advanced education, Agriculture, Economic, Education, Gay & Lesbian Rights, Health, Housing, Justice & legal affairs, Labour, Human Rights & Anti-racism, Social services, Tourism & cultural affairs, Transportation, and so forth. In many years, a representative of the Young New Democratics (YND) and a representative of the Women's Rights Committee (WRC) would also act as liaising members of the PRC. Policy subcommittees would review old policy, develop new policy as either resolutions for Convention or as Party policy statements, prepare background and/or discussion papers on relevant issues, and promote internal awareness and education about issues relevant to the Party. Finally, the PRC itself would often act in an advisory capacity to the Strategy & Election Planning Committee (SEPC) and the Elections Platform Committee (EPC) during the campaign period of of provincial elections.

Files in this subseries include materials from both the PRC itself, as well as records of its various subcommittees. Items covered include meeting minutes and agenda, memos and notices, background and discussion papers, media clippings, handwritten notes, drafts, public communications, policy documents and proposals, resolutions, and other related materials.

Polls

Polls were a regular part of election preparations for the BC NDP, and over time, many different companies were engaged by the New Democrats to conduct baseline polls, panels, and focus groups. While polls were often conducted specifically leading up to an election, they would be used to gauge public sentiment throughout the year, and many polls prepared by and for third parties were consulted, analyzed, and kept on hand as well. Though their original placement within the Provincial Offices is unknown, at the time of their receipt by RBSC, these files grouped together, suggesting that they had been maintained as such throughout their active use.

This subseries contains polls, drafts, correspondence, public communications, clippings, and other related materials. The subseries contains the records of at least 4 individuals, and 2 positions. The majority of the records have been created by the Provincial Secretary (held by 3 different individuals over the course of the subseries), with a subset of records created by a campaign organizer - though other files suggest he may have been the Director of Communications at the time. Based on the contents of the files, the records appear to be created as follows:

  • Files 392-17/18, and 392-20 to 394-02 created by Gerry Scott, Provincial Secretary
  • Files 392-19, 394-03/09, and 395-30 to 398-02 created by Hans Brown, Provincial Secretary
  • Files 394-10 to 395-29 appear to be created by Ron Johnson, campaign organizer and Director of Communications
  • Files 398-3 to 398-08 created by Brian Gardiner, Provincial Secretary
    Materials in file 398-09 were found loose, unfiled with the polling materials created by Brian Gardiner, though their creator is uncertain.

Records of electoral redistribution and the Fisher Commission

For many years, British Columbia made use of two or three-member ridings in its electoral representations; these distributions did not keep pace with the rapid population growth of some areas however, and consequently many areas were soon found to be grossly under-represented. In 1985, John Dixon of the BC Civil Liberties Union petitioned the British Columbia Supreme Court to apply the Charter of Rights to the Constitution Act, and review the current allocation of seats. The case took over three years, resulted in three decisions (most notably, the conclusion that the disparity of voters to members in some regions was in fact unconstitutional), and prompted a variety of efforts to redistribute the electoral boundaries, including the Fisher Commission of Inquiry.

In the campaign leading up to the 1986 General Election, the Social Credit candidates committed their government, if re-elected, to eliminating the 17 dual-member electoral districts. After winning the election, in April of 1987 the Vander Zalm government appointed Judge Thomas Fisher to head a Royal Commission on the issue of electoral boundary redistribution. While Fisher’s initial mandate was limited, the contiguous nature of all the boundaries made redistribution within the initial terms both ambiguous and challenging, and by September 1987, his terms of reference were expanded so that his recommendations might consider all the electoral districts. Fisher’s solution was to propose increasing the number of electoral districts (thereby increasing the seats in the Legislature as well) from 69 to 75, due to population increases in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, and the need for proportional representation within an acceptable margin. As a party, the NDP supported Fisher’s recommendations, and made several submissions to the Commission throughout its review. Ultimately, the Legislative Assembly eventually adopted Fisher’s recommendations to increase the number of electoral districts, in the Electoral Districts Act, SBC 1990, c. 39, Schedule 2, as well as Fisher’s recommendation for new legislation, as enacted in the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, SBC 1989, c. 65.

The files in this series document the NDP’s participation in this Commission, and its internal strategizing and research. These records appear to have been created by both the Provincial Secretary, and the Chair of the Redistribution Committee, Jeff Hoskins. File 392-16 appears to have been created by Blair Marshall, Redistribution Organizer. The subseries includes correspondence, memos, notes, drafts, reports, research materials, statistics, public communications, and other related materials.

Women's Rights Committee (WRC) records

Files in this subseries reflect the activities of the Women’s Rights Committee of the BC NDP, including its various subcommittees, committee liaisons, and coordination with the federal NDP Participation of Women Committee.

According to a 1992 document prepared by Anne Frost, past WRC Chair, and Charley Bersford, WRC Chair (“Women’s Rights Committee: Herstory”, 1992, in file 450-12), the Women’s Rights Committee was officially made a standing committee of the New Democratic Party of BC by a motion passed at Convention in 1971, building on previous women’s councils and federal women’s committees in the BC NDP and the CCF. The Committee’s mission statement in 1992 was “To guarantee fairness and equality for women in British Columbia; to address the roots of systemic discrimination and initiate legislation, services and programs to ensure women equal participation in all aspects of society; and to ensure access for all women to social justice” (“Mission Statement & Goals for Women’s Equality in a New Democratic Government,” WRC, spring 1992; in file 455-04). The Committee sought to achieve these goals through a variety of activities reflected in the files contained within this subseries, including authoring white papers on women’s issues, producing handbooks (such as the “Winning Nominations” handbook, created to assist women seeking to run for and win nominations in provincial elections; found in files 449-17 and 449-20), organizing workshops, producing and distributing a publication focused on women’s issues (entitled “Priorities” and launched in 1972; see for example file 450-05), introducing motions on gender-related issues at Convention, and more.

The Committee has its own executive structure, including Table Officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer), Past-Chair, Priorities Coordinator, Democrat Page, POW Representative (the federal NDP women’s committee, known as Participation of Women), a Women’s Rights Organizer (WRC paid staff position), as well as regional representatives for the electoral constituencies, members at large, and representatives from and to other committees, such as the Young New Democrats, the Policy Review Committee, etc. Further, the WRC also formed its own subcommittees to engage with particular issues, such as the Nomination Support Committee, or the Committee on Sexist Behaviour. Like the BC NDP itself, these positions were generally elected at Convention, and “all women who are members in good standing of the B.C. New Democratic Party are eligible to attend Women’s Rights Committee Steering Committee meetings and have both voice and vote, except on money matters.” (“Women’s Rights Committee – Membership & Structure,” June 24, 1992; in file 450-07).

File 449-18 contains a copy of the “WRC Objectives -1992/93,” which gives a general sense of the goals and strategies of the WRC at the time, while file 456-05 contains the most recent draft constitution of the WRC included in this accrual (January 2003). Other materials in this subseries include meeting minutes and agenda, handwritten notes, correspondence, financial documents, reports, convention materials, memoranda and public communications, clippings, and other related materials.