The 2011 Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC) scheduled for Nov. 16 – 18 in Ottawa, Ontario is featuring a couple of talks on innovation. Mike Harcourt, former Premier of BC, former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Vancouver, and a speaker on the Building Stronger Communities through Innovation panel, has very kindly answered a few questions about his work and the panel discussion.
First, here’s more about Mike Harcourt from his biography,
As former premier of British Columbia, Mayor of Vancouver and City Councilor,
Mike Harcourt helped British Columbia earn its reputation as one of the most livable, accessible and inclusive places in the world. His focus on conservation and sustainable development – and his resolve to contribute to the transformation of cities and communities around the world – has played a significant role in promoting quality of life for those in Canada and abroad.
After stepping down from politics, he was appointed by the Prime Minister to serve as a member of the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy, where he served on the Executive Committee and Chaired the Urban Sustainability Program. He was a federally appointed B.C. Treaty Commissioner and was Chair of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee for Cities and Communities and co-chaired the National Advisory Committee on the UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006.
Mike Harcourt is Chair of University of British Columbia’s Regional Sustainability Council for sustainability initiatives, and is at the new (CIRS) Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability as well as Associate Director of the Centre for Sustainability Continuing Studies at U.B.C. In addition to acting as Chairman of Quality Urban Energy Systems for Tomorrow (QUEST) www.questcanada.org, he chairs the Canadian Electricity Association’s Sustainable Electricity Program Advisory Panel. He is a member of City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Team. He also was part of an advisory group that helped Whistler put together its Natural Step based on sustainable cities strategy. He is the lead faculty in United Way’s Public Policy Institute.
Harcourt’s exemplary career as Lawyer, Community Activist, and Politician has been honoured, with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service and the Canadian Urban Institute’s Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award. He was awarded the U.B.C. Alumni Achievement Award of Distinction for contributions to British Columbia, Canada and the global community in November 2008.
U.B.C. Law Deans Advisory Council – 2010. Honorary Fellowship – The College of Fellows-Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. In 2011 – Peter Lougheed Award in Public Policy.
In 1993 Al Gore applauded Premier Harcourt, for permanently preserving the jointly shared ecosystem of the Tatshenshini River and Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park in Northwest British Columbia.
He is the author of: A Measure of Defiance and co-author of Plan B: one Man’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph and co-author of City Making in Paradise.
Mike Harcourt is a Speaker and Advisor internationally on sustainable cities.
Here are the the answers that Mike Harcourt kindly took the time out of a very busy schedule to give,
- I am a little curious as to how you ended up at a science policy conference. Have you had a particular interest in science or was this dictated by other forces and what would those forces be?
I’m at the conference (CSPC) as Chair of QUEST(Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow – QUESTcanada.org). Plus I Chair the Canadian Electricity Association’s Sustainable Electricity Advisory Panel. Innovation and technology are key to both organizations’ initiatives.
- Can you offer a preview of what you, in particular, will be discussing at the Building Stronger Communities Through Innovation talk?
Most Canadians (95%) live in or around our 120 big and medium-sized communities, in the inner city, suburbs or rural areas just outside these cities so if we’re serious about having sustainable, competitive, Greenhouse-gas-reducing cities,we’ll need much greater emphasis on innovation, energy and technology applied to solving unsustainable patterns of urban planning and development.
- Do you have any comments about the recent report on the Review of Federal Support to R&D, which was released with the title, Innovation in Canada: A Call to Action?
No comment on the recent Review of Federal Support to R&D Report.
- As the former Premier of BC, what role to do you see for developing innovation and innovative communities at the provincial level?
As Premier I saw an important role for provincial governments – good quality K-12,and post secondary education, R&D and commercialization initiatives,trade development.
- As a former Mayor of Vancouver, what role to do you see for developing innovation and innovative communities at the municipal level?
As Mayor I facilitated an economic development policy with a focus on innovation, trade development, proper zoning and taxation policies to encourage technology and related research, consulting and support enterprises.
Mike Harcourt, thank you very much for providing this preview of your talk on the panel and insight into how provinces and cities can encourage innovation.