John Ian Gardiner Waddell, Nov 21st, 1942 - March 15th 2021.
Ian was born in Glasgow, Scotland and at age five, his family emigrated to Canada. He grew up in Etobicoke, Ontario with solid values and a love of learning. Ian earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Toronto, and a Master's degree in International Law from LSE (London School of Economics).
Ian moved to BC, and ended up heading a community law office, established by Mike Harcourt in Vancouver's Downtown East Side (Harcourt would go on to become Mayor of Vancouver, and Premier of BC). Later, he served as Special Counsel to Judge Thomas Berger, who headed the historic Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. Tom (and his wife, Bev) and Ian remained close friends in the decades that followed.
Ian was elected to Parliament in 1979 into the Caucus led by Ed Broadbent, which included Jim Fulton, Svend Robinson, Bob Rae and Bill Blaikie, all of whom would go on to be lifelong friends. Stephen Lewis, the Ontario NDP Leader throughout the 70's and future Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations (Rae would later fill the same role) always inspired Ian. Ian and Stephen stayed in touch and whenever Ian was in Toronto, the two of them would meet for a lively exchange of ideas and information.
For 14 years, Ian served as a New Democratic Party MP, first for Vancouver - Kingsway, and then for Port Moody - Coquitlam Port - Coquitlam. One of Ian's greatest political achievements was the key role he played in drafting the landmark 'Section 35' of the 1982 Constitution, recognizing Aboriginal and treaty rights. In 1989, Ian ran for the federal NDP leadership, which he unfortunately lost. In 1996, he was elected as an MLA for the riding of Vancouver - Fraserview.
After chairing the Committee reviewing the landmark Nisga'a Treaty, Ian was appointed Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture by Premier Glen Clark towards the end of his term; His tireless promotion for the growth of BC's film industry paid off in his helping secure the film tax credit, giving birth to a billion dollar industry, now known locally and afar as 'Hollywood North'.
Ian celebrated his success in helping Vancouver secure the 2010 Winter Olympics by driving through the city in his vintage 1964 Valiant convertible (known as the "Red Shark") waving his red Olympic mittens in earnest. While recently recalling being appointed by Premier Ujjal Dosanjh as Environment Minister, Ian would point to his new Tesla Model 3 with grinning pride.
Following his service as an appointed official, Ian returned to his roots. The law. He was appointed the title of Queen's Counsel in 2013, which is the highest honour for a member of the legal profession. He then went on to produce an award-winning documentary, starring up and coming Canadian Actor Dylan Playfair, titled: "The Drop: Why Young People Don't Vote", and in 2018, published his political memoir, 'Take the Torch. He never seemed to slow down. Every Robbie Burns Day, he would kick up his kilt at the Scottish Heritage Centre, and he celebrated many a New Year's Eve partying and dancing until dawn in Havana with his Canadian and Cuban friends. As much as Ian loved traveling, he was equally happy simply walking his Kitsilano neighborhood with his beloved golden retriever, Frankie.
Ian loved life. His last tweet was a photo from his second story deck, with the handle: "Paradise!" In the weeks prior to his death, he went skiing, played golf, went jogging, and even lifted weights. He was healthy and active until the last minute.
Ian died gently in his sleep of heart complications on March 14th 2021. He is not believed to have suffered. He is survived by brother Al, cousin Beverly Whyfon, and many more friends around the world.
To view the official obituary, published by PostMedia, click the following link:
09:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.