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Michael Harcourt was born in Edmonton, Alberta on 6 January 1943. The family moved across Canada as a result of his father’s naval career and eventually settled in Vancouver. Harcourt completed law studies at the University of British Columbia in 1968, where he was active in protests against American involvement in the Vietnam War. He subsequently established the Vancouver Community Legal Assistance Society. The Society, of which he served as director from 1969 to 1971, was reportedly the first community law office in Canada.
Harcourt soon became politically active and served as a Vancouver alderman between 1972 and 1980, followed by a three-term stint as the city’s mayor between 1980 and 1986. He was chosen as leader of the provincial New Democratic Party in 1987 and was elected to the office of Premier in the autumn of 1991. In 1992, Harcourt signed an agreement creating the BC Treaty Commission, and was later appointed BC Treaty Commissioner between 2003 and 2005. Harcourt served as Premier for four years, until his resignation in November 1995 following the so-called “Bingogate” scandal, despite the fact that a Special Prosecutor cleared him of wrong-doing. The Trudeau Foundation notes that Harcourt’s leadership helped the province earn the reputation of being one of the most livable, accessible, and inclusive places in the world.
Following his time in BC politics, Harcourt rekindled a previous interest in urban planning. He was appointed as a member of the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy, and between 1996 and 2004 he served on the Executive Committee and chaired the Urban Sustainability program. He has chaired and co-chaired a variety of committees, including the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee for Cities and Communities, Quality Urban Energy Systems for Tomorrow (QUEST), the National Advisory Committee on the UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum, the Canadian Electricity Association’s Sustainable Electricity Advisory Panel. He has also served as honourary co-chair of UBC’s British Columbia’s President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability.
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Created by: Kate-Lynn Flanagan.
Block, Tracey. “A challenge of time : an interview with Mike Harcourt.” In Senior Living magazine. Accessed from http://www.seniorlivingmag.com/articles/a-challenge-of-time on July 12, 2017.
Central Name Authority Files.
Fondation Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. “Michael Harcourt.” Accessed from http://www.trudeaufoundation.ca/en/community/michael-harcourt on July 12, 2017.
Globe 2010. “Mike Harcourt.” Accessed from http://2010.globeseries.com/conference/speakerBio.id=125.html on July 12, 2017
The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Mike Harcourt.” Accessed from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/mike-harcourt/ on July 12. 2017.