Author Tags: Health, Politics

Ex-premier of British Columbia Michael Harcourt, traced his political roots from lawyer to city councillor (four terms, 1972-1980), to Vancouver mayor (three terms, 1980-1986), and to East Vancouver MLA and eventually Premier in his autobiography Mike Harcourt: A Measure of Defiance (D&M 1996), co-written with Wayne Skene. Born in Edmonton on January 6, 1943, he was raised in Vancouver and studied law at UBC. He became B.C.'s second NDP premier in November of 1991 and stepped down as leader in February of 1996, in response to a charity bingo scandal in Nanaimo not of his own making. In semi-retirement, he was severely injured after a near-fatal fall off the deck of his Pender Island cottage on November 30, 2002, but he rallied to make a remarkable recovery. In 2003, as a self-described "recovering politician", he was appointed Federal Commissioner on the British Columbia Treaty Commission and also chair of the federal External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities. He also became actively involved in spinal cord research and education. "After the accident, I became much more committed to the issues of the disabled in a way that I would never have imagined when I was going through Plan A." His memoir of his return to active life, Plan B: One Man's Journey from Tragedy to Triumph (Wiley, 2004), was co-written with John Lekich. Harcourt also co-wrote City Making in Paradise (D&M 2007).

[BCBW 2007] "Politics" "Health"

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
A Measure of Defiance

City Making in Paradise
Article (2007)

from BC BookWorld
In 1968, Shirley Chan and her family faced civic eviction from their home on Keefer Street in Chinatown to make way for a proposed freeway that would link Highway 1 with Carrall Street and continue to Burrard Inlet, slicing through Vancouver. The city offered them $6,000. Chan and a newly-arrived city hall employee named Darlene Marzari, a recent graduate of the London School of Economics, galvanized pressure on City Hall to protect the Strathcona neighbourhood, whereupon Vancouver was spared the blight of an intrusive freeway system in its downtown core, along the lines of Seattle and Toronto. Its one of the nine stories told in City Making in Paradise: Nine Decisions That Saved Vancouver (D&M $24.95), a slim book about some successes of regional planning in the Lower Mainland since 1945. Former Mayor Mike Harcourt—co-author with Ken Cameron and Sean Rossiter—previously recalled in his memoir A Measure of Defiance, “It does not happen often in life but Darlene Marzari and Shirley Chan are two people whom you can point to and say, ‘They are the reason why Vancouver is as attractive a city as it is today. These two women truly helped save our city. The Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association is the single most significant reason why Vancouver is such a profoundly liveable city today.” 978-1-55365-257-1