Fonds MS - Mel Smith fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Mel Smith fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1968-1995 (Creation)
    Smith, Melvin Henry

Physical description area

Physical description

9.63 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1934 - 2000)

Biographical history

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1934, Mel Smith was educated in British Columbia, graduating with Commerce and Law Degrees from UBC.
In 1960, he was called to the Bar of B.C. Later that year, he joined the public service of B.C. where he remained for 31 years. Mr. Smith rose to the rank of Deputy Minister in 1977, a position he held in various ministries until he left public service in 1991. From 1967 to 1987, he was the ranking advisor to four successive B.C. governments on the subject of constitutional reform and related federal-provincial issues. He was primarily responsible for developing the province’s constitutional position for the federal-provincial negotiations conducted over much of that period, including the negotiations leading up to the patriation of the Constitution in 1981. Since 1991, he has been engaged as a public policy consultant, as a columnist for B.C. Report magazine, and as an adjunct professor of political science at Trinity Western University. He is the author of the national bestseller, “Our Home or Native Land?,” which is highly critical of governments’ aboriginal policy.
He has held the position of Chairman of the B.C. Constitutional Law Subsection, Director of the Canada West Foundation, Director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen’s University, and Director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.
He received a Queen Elizabeth II, 25th Anniversary Medal in 1977, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in December of 1983.

Custodial history

In 1998 Mr. Smith donated his papers and other related materials to the TWU Archives

Scope and content

The fonds consists of both professional and personal documents relating to Mr. Smith’s career, and includes position papers, correspondence, briefing papers, news clippings, books, articles, and photographs.
Series within the fonds are:

  1. Internal Briefing Materials. -- [n.d.]
  2. British Columbia's Position on the Constitution. -- 1968-1991
  3. Positions of Other Governments on the Constitution. -- 1973-1983
  4. Native Affairs. -- 1850-1875; 1969; 1975-1996
  5. Other Policy Matters and Events. -- 1983-1994
  6. Daily Correspondence. -- 1977-1996; 2000
  7. Invitations. -- 1968-1989
  8. Name Tags. -- 1968-1989
  9. Newspaper Clippings. -- 1867; 1968; 1976; 1979-1982; 1997-2000
  10. Government Publications. -- 1967-2000

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Melvin Henry Smith


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Script of material

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Restrictions on access

May contain confidential information. Please contact Archivist for additional information.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File list is available in the Archives and via the online database

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Related materials


General note

The video cassettes are physically filed with videos belonging to the A/V Collection; brief descriptions have been entered into the archival database and are accessible online

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Physical description

Includes: 10 metres of textual records, 7 metres of books and government documents, 12 video cassettes, 21 audio cassettes, and ca. 100 photographs

Physical description

Actual physical extent of textual records inside boxes is 8.12 m

Fonds also includes:
-2.00 m of briefing binders
-5.00 m of published materials as well as photos, audio / visual, and framed documents

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March 14, 2002<br/>October 25, 2012<br/>Thursday, October 25, 2012 4:00:29 PM by SylviaS<br/>Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:22:15 AM by SylviaS<br/>Wednesday, May 13, 2009 4:54:34 PM by sylvias<br/>Friday, October 17, 2003 10:13:09 AM by sylvias<br/>Thursday, October 16, 2003 2:36:52 PM by sylvias<br/>Saturday, November 23, 2002 10:20:06 AM by SylviaS<br/>04/12/2002 03:40:54 PM by SylviaS<br/>03/14/2002 04:51:41 PM by SylviaS<br/>03/14/2002 04:49:23 PM by SylviaS

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Physical storage

  • Box: Bays 36 - 42