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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.

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.

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.


Series consists copies of published poems, drafts, manuscripts and unfinished poems. Original order (filed alphabetically by title) has been kept, with poems found elsewhere in Douglas' papers added in appropriate place. Order of poems kept in other groupings has been maintained.

"Nature Rambles"

Series consists of articles written for a regular column "Nature Rambles" in the Victoria Times-Colonist "Islander", filed chronologically, by month (original order).

Coast Book Files

Series consists of both manuscripts (final and working copies) and research material (notes, correspondence , photos and clippings) for a book Douglas was working on in her final years .


Series contains one file with various poems published in Flow (2018).

Gold dust publication records

Subseries consists of records pertaining to the publishing of Howard's book, <i>Gold Dust on His Shirt</i>. Records include correspondence between Howard and Between the Lines Publishing House, chapter drafts and revisions, manuscripts, contracts, submission letters and rejections, book reviews, and promotional materials. The photographs in this subseries are images used in the book.

General government files

The subseries contains materials not coded for filing that accumulated while Lauk was acting as both Minister of Mines & Petroleum Resources and Ministers of Economic Development, as well as materials accumulated during the provincial general election. Records include research materials and submissions and correspondence received.

Correspondence with Carol Shields

The subseries consists of email and traditional correspondence between Blanche Howard and Carol Shields, as well as related correspondence and ephemera from 1974-2006. The correspondence between Howard and Shields deals with subjects such as the respective writing careers of the correspondents, literature, and personal and family goings-on. The subseries also contains correspondence between Howard and other members of the Shields family, including Carol’s husband Don Shields, and daughters Anne Giardini and Sara Cassidy. The subseries also contains correspondence between Carol Shields and Bruce Howard. The subseries also includes some correspondence related to the publication of the book “A Memoir of Friendship.” Ephemera in the subseries consists of newspaper and magazine clippings regarding Shields, including reviews, articles about awards and honours, and obituaries and tributes.

After 1990 - published short stories and essays

The subseries consists of material related to the writing and publication of short stories by Blanche Howard from 1987 to 2010. Material includes primarily typed drafts of stories, many edited or otherwise annotated by Howard and others, as well as correspondence regarding the stories, newspaper clippings and articles used for research, printing proofs, handwritten notes regarding characters, letters of agreement, and other related records. Correspondence consists primarily of email and traditional correspondence with editors, publishers, and literary agents, including rejection and acceptance letters, correspondence regarding royalties, reprint permissions, and awards, and correspondence containing feedback on the stories.

Unpublished short stories and essays

The subseries consists of material related to the writing and attempted publication of short stories by Blanche Howard from 1969 to 2011. Material includes primarily typed drafts of stories, many edited or otherwise annotated by Howard, as well as correspondence regarding the stories, newspaper clippings and articles used for research, notes, writing contest rules, and other related records. Correspondence consists of email and traditional correspondence with editors and publishers, primarily rejection letters and correspondence containing feedback on the stories.


The sub-series consists of material reflecting the administration of finances within SORWUC. Many of the finance materials are related to the national SORWUC union, rather than specifically locals 2 and 4. Financial activities included fund-raising, especially the specific funding of the ongoing Muckamuck strike, and the keeping receipt books, cash receipts, check deposit books, payroll information, and financial reports. Record types include deposit books, receipts, bank statements, cheque stubs, and receipt books.


The sub-series includes information collected in regards to the activities which SORWUC carried out. The union concentrated on women’s issues, feminism, and women’s rights in the workplace, health and hygiene issues. Material includes press clippings and releases in regard to banking business; brochures and pamphlets on unemployment, racism and women’s issues; constitutions of other unions, paste ups, bulletins, anti-union literature, annual reports by banks and Canada Labour Relations Board (CLRB) reports.

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