During life, Ian had a long and successful career. Starting out as a storefront lawyer, he made a mark in the legal community in BC, working as a Criminal Defence Lawyer for many years. He would go on to work with Judge Thomas Berger on the historic MacKenzie Valley pipeline inquiry in the Arctic, and even made a film about it.
Eventually, his aspirations led him to running for government. He ran for Vancouver Kingsway, as well as the tri city riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam. He would go on to win 3 elections, spending a total of 14 years as a Member of Parliament. He also was in charge of the national energy program (NEP) during the years of Pierre Trudeau.
Following his successful tenure in federal politics, Ian ran provincially, for the riding of Vancouver Fraserview, and served for one term as a member of the Legislature, and as Culture Minister for 1 year, at the end of the term. He helped bring in the BC film tax credit, creating a billion dollar industry, as well as helping to secure the Olympic bid.
In retirement, he became a film maker. He co produced "The Drop: Why Young People Don't Vote", which featured up and coming Canadian actor Dylan Playfair. The film won a Best Producer award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival in 2015. He also wrote 2 books. A novel, called 'A Thirst To Die For', about a plot to export bulk Canadian water to a draught stricken California, as well as his personal memoir, 'Take the Torch'. The latter is available for purchase on Amazon and indigo.
Ian's personal memoir, 'Take the Torch', was released on October 27th, 2018. It is available for purchase at the following websites:
In 2002, Ian also wrote a book called "A Thirst to Die For", which was published by NeWest Press, it is also available for purchase at
Ian Co-Produced the 2015 film "The Drop: Why Young People Don't Vote", which won a Best Producer award at the Beverly Hills Independent Film Festival. You can view it here:
He also made a film called 'Berger', which was about the MacKenzie Valley pipeline inquiry, specifically Thomas Berger's incredible role in it.
He was also planning to make a TV series based on a skit he had come up with during his time at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. It was to be a comedy about Vladimir Putin titled 'Uncle Vlad'.
Much of my career has been in the political arena or in the practice of law. I have a Masters of Laws degree from the London School of Economics (UK) and practiced as both a Crown Attorney and Defence Counsel. As the Director of the Storefront Lawyers (VCLAS), I litigated the first class action suit in Canadian law history. Internationally, I successfully lobbied for the new International Criminal Court which I helped initiate. In 2013, I was appointed Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) by the Attorney General of British Columbia.
Serving as a Member of the Canadian Parliament for over 14 years, I first represented the VancouverKingsway riding then Port Moody-Coquitlam. Later I was elected to the British Columbia Legislature where I served as: Minister of Tourism, Culture & Small Business; Minister of Environment, Lands & Parks; and Minister on Intergovernmental Affairs. As minister, I fought hard for the 2010 Winter Olympic bid and won by championing Aboriginal participation, environmental sustainability and athlete involvement in the early planning stages. Under my ministerial guidance and with incentive programs, the BC film business grew into a billion dollar industry.
As Special Counsel to the Royal (Berger) Commission of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, I gained extensive knowledge and valuable insights into Aboriginal and energy issues. My experience and expertise was instrumental in drafting sections of the repatriated Canadian constitution regarding Aboriginal rights (Section 35). As Chair of the Fraser Basin Board, I collaborated with public and private partners including First Nations to produce a Report Card on the environmental state of the basin.
I have been a member of numerous Canadian delegations including Kyoto 6 and the transfer of Hong Kong as well as issues dealing with the Middle East. My participation in a variety of political conferences allowed me to interact with many world leaders.
Throughout my career, I have maintained my accessibility to the public and the media and have mentored numerous Canadian politicians, journalists and business professionals. I enjoyed teaching a Criminology course at Simon Fraser and Canadian History at UBC as well as being a visiting scholar at Massey College, University of Toronto several times. A longtime member of the Board of Governors for the Arts Club of Vancouver and the Heritage Vancouver Society I am actively involved in the cultural aspects of Vancouver. I am a published author (A Thirst to Die For) and a documentary filmmaker (Why Young People Don’t Vote) with experience as a TV and radio commentator. I enjoy writing, scuba diving, skiing, yoga, jazz, film and theatre and make my home in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver.
PRINCIPAL, Ian G. Waddell & Associates Government Relations
MEMBER, BC LEGISLATURE: Vancouver Fraserview 2001
MINISTER, Environment, Lands & Parks
Beach mine site
• Developed a “Report Card” on the state of the Fraser Basin
MEMBER, CANADIAN PARLIAMENT: Vancouver-Kingsway MEMBER, CANADIAN PARLIAMENT: Port Moody/Coquitlam
1994 – 1996
1979 – 1988 1988 – 1993
PARTNER, DeCarlo & Waddell, Barristers & Solicitors
SPECIAL COUNCIL, Berger Commission on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline LEGAL DIRECTOR, Vancouver Legal Assistance Society
ASSISTANT CITY PROSECUTOR, City of Vancouver
1977 – 1979 1974 – 1977 1972 – 1974
1971 - 1972
IAN G. WADDELL, L.L.M., Q.C.
604 803 1069 2013 – present
2002 – 2012 1996 –
L.L.M., INTERNATIONAL LAW, London School of Economics, UK L.L.B., FACULTY OF LAW, University of Toronto, ON
TEACHING DIPLOMA, Ontario College of Education
BA, HISTORY, University of Toronto, ON
MEMBER, BOARD OF GOVERNORS, Arts Club Vancouver MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Arts Club Vancouver
Current 1973 – 1979 & 1994 - 1996
• Advised on the preservation of numerous heritage buildings and sites in Vancouver
Writing, fishing, skiing, theatre, scuba diving, jazz, yoga, film, current events & the environment
Sir John Ford died recently at the age of 95. He was the British High Commissioner (Ambassador) during the time of the patriation of Canada’s constitution, then the British North America Act, a U.K. law. Finally, Canada was to be a fully independent country.
In the early stages of the patriation the Pierre Trudeau government was stalled. Only two provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick, supported his package. The rest of the “gang of eight” were asking the Canadian courts to block the federal government’s right to unilaterally patriate the constitution. As well all sorts of interest groups were in London – Aboriginal chiefs, the separatist Quebec Government, women’s groups and others – lobbying British MPs who would vote on the repeal of the BNA. Trudeau had no elected MPs west of Winnipeg so he needed the support of the NDP in Parliament, the Conservatives being opposed. And he got it from Ed Broadbent.
In February of 1981 I found myself at a party at Government House hosted by Governor General Edward Schreyer. A well-dressed man with a British accent asked my why the NDP MPs from Western Canada would support a package with no Aboriginal rights, no guarantee of provincial control of their resources, weak Charter of Rights on women’s issues etc. I tried to avoid a direct answer as the truth was our caucus and our party were indeed divided. Instead I stammered something about it’s going to pass through the British Parliament soon. The man replied don’t be too sure of that. I asked who are you and he replied John Ford, the U.K. High Commissioner.
Next morning at caucus I offhandedly mentioned the incident to Ed Broadbent. I was stunned when, later that day in question period, Broadbent put a question to Mark MacGuigan, Secretary of State for External Affairs, mentioning the incident, the ambassador, Sir John Ford, and me by name. All hell broke loose!
Sir John called a press conference, and Trudeau complained to the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher behind the scenes. Editorials in most Canadian papers protested Britain’s involvement in Canadian affairs. The one in the Toronto Star said, “End British Meddling”; the Montreal Gazette accused Britain of “over-stepping bounds.” Trudeau had more of a sense of humour, quipping, with a nod to the current instalment of Star Wars, “The Empire Strikes Back.” Sir John was recalled to London, or so I thought.
Thirty-three years later, former Vancouver city councillor Marguerite Ford invited me on a beautiful summer day to share a gin and tonic with her visiting brother, Sir John Ford. I was a little apprehensive. Did he think I’d got him kicked out of Canada? He laughed and told me he had already been planning to retire, and the government was well aware of that. Sir John had gone on to a successful second career in the private non-profit sector. We had a nice chat, and he told me what really happened. Sir John had just been doing his job. The political atmosphere at the time was tense. The Kershaw Report in the UK had recommended that the British House of Commons not pass Trudeau’s package. Prime Minister Thatcher at that time even if she wanted to (she was no big fan of Pierre Trudeau) didn’t have the power to whip her MPs. So, he didn’t have the votes in the British House of Commons, and Sir John thought Trudeau should know that.
Of course things changed. First in Canada the Supreme Court forced Trudeau to go back and negotiate with the provinces. Ed Broadbent rather courageously went back to Trudeau and secured in the new constitution clauses on Aboriginal rights (s35), provincial resource rights (s 92A) and a strengthened Charter of Rights. What happened in the UK to assure the required Parliamentary approval? According to Sir John it was not the wining and dining (the British MPs were loving that). It was the start of the Falklands War, making our patriation an afterthought. And here’s a secret Sir John told me.
As to the actual vote in the mother of Parliaments, of all the UK political insiders who tried to predict the votes of the Conservative backbenchers, including party leaders, whips, journalists, veteran MPs, etc., the most accurate was the Queen. She really does pay attention to Commonwealth matters. And I’m sure she was happy not to find herself in the impossible position of being advised by her British ministers to reject the Canadian package while being advised by her Canadian ministers to accept it.
Canadians owe the late Sir John Ford maybe not quite an apology but more a recognition about the role he played in the patriation of our Constitution. In retrospect he was only doing his job, and doing it well.
Ian Waddell was an NDP M.P. from Vancouver Kingsway at the time of the historic patriation of Canada’s new constitution from the United Kingdom.
Constitution signing Prime Minister Elliott Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth II.
Ian Waddell has been on the front line of progressive change in Canada for over five decades, sometimes as an observer but often as an actor. When he ran a storefront law office in Vancouver in the 1970s, he argued and won the first class-action lawsuit in Canada. A few years later, again ahead of his time, he was accompanying Tom Berger on his groundbreaking hearings in Canada’s North, listening to Inuit and Dene people talk about the effect a proposed pipeline would have on them. Almost by accident Waddell found himself in Canada’s Parliament through the late 1970s, 80s and early 90s embroiled in battles over the National Energy Policy, gas exports, national park reserves, the right to die, culture policy, NAFTA amongst others. He spared with Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney, often with good humour. The queen liked his kilt.