- 1993-2001 (predominantly 1996-2000)
Records in this series relate to several Recall campaigns initiated under the Recall Initiative Act, against NDP party members and other elected officials ca. 1996-2000.
The Recall and Initiative Act was first introduced by the Attorney General to the Legislative Assembly as Bill 36, in June of 1994, received Royal Assent on July 8 1994, and was brought into force by Order in Council on February 24, 1995. It was amended September 1, 1995 as a result of changes to the Election Act, and consolidated in the 1996 Revised Statutes of British Columbia as RSBC 1996 Chapter 398. As of 2011, British Columbia is the only province with Recall legislation in place. Almost immediately following the act’s adoption, the NDP found Recall campaigns initiated against several of its MLA’s, most notably in Skeena, Comox Valley, and Prince George North.
The Recall and Initiative Act is administered by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). According to Elections BC, Recall is, “is a process that allows registered voters to petition for the removal of a Member of the Legislative Assembly between elections. Any registered voter can apply to have a petition issued for the recall of their MLA. …A Member cannot be recalled during the first 18 months after their election.” Within 60 days of successfully filing a recall petition, Recall proponents must collect signatures in support of the recall from at least 40% of the registered voters in an MLA’s riding for the motion to succeed. No specific rules or limitations govern the reasons for initiating recall. As of 2011, the CEO has overseen 24 recall campaigns, of which 23 have been unsuccessful, and in the final case, Liberal MLA Paul Reitsma resigned before the results could be tallied.
Following the 1996 Provincial election, recall campaigns were initiated in Prince George North (MLA Paul Ramsey, proponent Pertti Harkonen) and Skeena (MLA Helmut Giesbrecht, proponent G. Lorne Sexton), days after the 18 month suspension following election expired. Shortly after, another major campaign began in Comox Valley (MLA Evelyn Gillespie, proponent Robert Saint Amour). Several of these MLA’s further experienced secondary recall campaigns, but the majority of these were never submitted to the CEO within the required 60 days. A third recall campaign was initiated against Paul Ramsey (proponent former Liberal MLA Bob Viergever), but was also never submitted. In several ridings, supporters of the elected MLA’s formed anti-recall groups and campaigns, such as the Citizens for Local Democracy in Prince George North, the Skeena Taxpayer’s Association, and the Comox Valley Citizens Concerned About Fairness. A dispute between Prince George North recall proponent Pertti Harkonen and CEO Robert Patterson regarding which of the voters' lists provided by the CEO to the recall campaign should be used as the basis for determining the success or failure of the campaigns led to a judicial review, Harkonen v. Patterson. Other attempts to begin campaigns, including a “Recall Glen Clark” campaign, and a "Total Recall" campaign (in which proponents sought to recall all elected NDP officials), are also covered by the series. In 1998, following allegations of fraud, confusion around the act, and overspending on the part of MLA’s, forensic accountant Ronald Parks, of Lindquist Avey Macdonald Baskerville, was engaged by CEO Robert Patterson to investigate and report back (known as the Parks Report, 1999). In 1998, following a December 1997 interview with Paul Ramsey for the Vancouver Province (reporter Donald Hauka), Ramsey launched a libel suit against Hauka, Ben Meisner of CKPG Radio in Prince George, and Pacific Press for misinterpreting a statement he made, and repeating this misinterpretation with defamatory statements (Ramsey v. Pacific Press). The case was eventually settled out of court.
Records in this series include financial documents, correspondence, media clippings, public communications, copies of legislation and court documents, and other records related to recall initiatives in British Columbia.