Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hardy Harcourt

Next in line for B.C.'s premiership was Mike Harcourt. Michael Franklin Harcourt was born on January 6, 1943. Like many of his fellow politicians, Harcourt spent time in city politics, serving as Vancouver mayor from 1980 to 1986.

However, that isn't where Mike's political career began. He served as student council president for Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. After high school, Harcourt studied at the University of British Columbia, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws. From 1973 to 1980, Mike served as a city alderman before being elected mayor. His term as mayor was largely consumed by planning for the upcoming Expo86.

In 1986, Mike was first elected to the British Columbia Legislature and the next year he became the leader of the provincial NDP party. A leader of the official opposition, he was considered moderate within the ranks of his social democratic party.

Mike Harcourt led the NDP back to power in the 1991 election as they defeated the social credit party led by Rita Johnston. This was the second time that the New Democratic Party was in power in BC and the first time since 1975.

Sadly, Mr. Harcourt was only in power for five years. In 1996, David Stupich, an NDP member, used charity bingo money to fund the party. Even though Mike had nothing to do with "Bingogate", he took political responsibility for it. (He was succeeded by Glen Clark who also had to resign due to scandal.)

Once out of politics, Harcourt became associated with UBC, involved in research relating to sustainable development and cities.

In November of 2002, Harcourt made the news again when he suffered a fall at his cottage on Pender Island. This near-fatal accident left the former premier with a severe spinal-cord injury. He received an massive outpouring of sympathy and support from fellow British Columbians. He proved himself  hardy as he spent several months at the rehabilitation centre, GF Strong, and astonished his doctors with his rapid recovery. He published a book about his ordeal called Plan B.

In 2003, he was named as a special advisor on cities to Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Four years after that, Harcourt released another book, City Making in Paradise. In November of that year, Mike received an honorary doctoral degree in law from UBC. In February of 2009, he was appointed associate director of the Centre for Sustainability at UBC. Here, he contributes to the development of educational programs that emphasize practical knowledge in tackling climate change and other sustainability issues.

Thanks goes to Wikipedia for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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