Subseries - Files related to the David Stockell case

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Files related to the David Stockell case

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1996 - 2000 (Creation)

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Physical description

approximately 2.35m of textual records
1 video cassette
1 audio cassette

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Custodial history

Records in this subseries have been predominantly authored by the legal counsel representing NDP members, which were returned to the New Democratic Party between 2000 and 2002.

Scope and content

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.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Many of the boxes returned to the New Democratic Party between 2000 and 2002 contained unfoldered stacks of copies. In some boxes, distinct file groupings were identified by the use of elastic bands, which have been removed for preservation purposes. In all cases original order has been preserved as much as possible, while in most cases file titles have been supplied based on the contents of the files.

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Restrictions on access

Access to the files in this subseries is restricted until 2026.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Until 2026, a researcher may request special permission to access and use the material by applying to the Provincial Secretary of the New Democratic Party of British Columbia.

Finding aids

Associated materials

File 443-12, "Prov. executive Sept 20/96" in the "Records of the table officers, provincial executive, and provincial council" series of this fonds, contains a memo circulated to executive members, MP's and other party officers warning them of the impending legal action initiated by Leonard Friesen et al. under the direction of David Stockell. As well, file 443-30, "Provincial council Dec 6 + 7" in the same subseries contains a collection of news clippings, media transcripts, and some meeting notes related to Stockell and recall. File 445-01, also in the same subseries, contains two actums prepared by legal representative John Finlay for NDP appelants in the Friesen v. Hammell case in October 1998.

File 444-16, "Table officers June 10/97" in the "Records of the table officers, provincial executive, and provincial council" series of this fonds contains a court document from the Friesen v. Hammell case, submitted June 3, 1997: "Further Particulars of Misrepresentation and Non-Disclosure Referred to in Paragraph 47 of the Petition Herein that Constitute the Fraudulent Means Referred to as Violations of 256(2) of the Elections Act in Paragraphs 49 and 50 of the Petition." File 445-13, "Table officers Oct 14th) contains a copy of the "Factum of Appellants Sue Hammell and Graeme Bowbrick," and some other related materials.

File 445-14 contains a memo from Brian Gardiner (Provincial Secretary) on the amount of funds the Party has spent on various court cases since 1996, including the Stockell court case (Friesen v. Hammell), the Paul Ramsey libel case, other recall-related cases, and the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society (NCHS) investigations. Similarly, file 447-11, "Table officers June 14, 2000" contains a "Statement of outstanding external accounts payable as of June 13, 2000" financial document that indicates some of the costs associated with the David Stockell case.

File 447-16, "Table officers meeting August 23, 2000" contains an "urgent message to NDP members" from Sue Hammell, MLA, regarding the NDP's court victory in the Friesen v. Hammell case and its related court motions.

File 447-29, "Prov. executive Jan 23rd Biltmore" contains a copy of the "Written reasons of the Court" from the BC Court of Appeal (Jan 20, 1999).

Further related materials can be found in files 448-13, 448-14, 448-15, 448-16.

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Sources for the scope and content note:

CBC News (August 4, 2000) “'Fudge-it budget' case thrown out.” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, accessed October 20, 2011 at

CBC News (November 11, 2000). “B.C. 'fudge-it' budget court case going ahead”. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, accessed October 20, 2011 at

Legislative Library (2002). Electoral History of British Columbia: Supplement, 1987–2001. Victoria, BC: accessed October 20, 2011 at

McMartin, Will (July 12, 2010). “Worst Fudge-it Budget Proven, but Free Ride from Media.” The Tyee, accessed October 20, 2011 at:

Wikipedia (n.d.) “British Columbia New Democratic Party”. Wikipedia, accessed October 20, 2011 at

Wilson, Judi Tyabji (2002). Daggers unsheathed: the political assassination of Glen Clark. Surrey, B.C. : Heritage House Pub. Pp. 56-74

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