British Columbia·Point of View

'The last week is when momentum really builds': Mike Harcourt on the election campaign's final days

Former B.C. premier and Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt talks about the last week of the election campaign, the need for new blood, and voting strategies.

Former B.C. premier and Vancouver mayor welcomes 2018 race's mix of experience and new blood

Mike Harcourt served as the premier of British Columbia from 1991 to 1996 and mayor of Vancouver from 1980 to 1986. (CBC)

Former B.C. premier and Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt talks about the last week of the election campaign, the need for new blood, and voting strategies.

Voting is like paying taxes — it's part of being a citizen in a democracy.

In fact, I'm a hard rock here and would like to do what Australia does: If you don't vote, you get fined.

This election is a really important one because it's deciding the next 30 years and the whole issue of how we handle the next million people moving to the Greater Vancouver area to join the 2.5 million already here.

There are a lot of really important issues, from affordable housing, to transportation, to managing density and growth, to childcare.

I think they've all been addressed and spoken to quite passionately, sometimes off the wall. But that's why debate is so key.

Our system is a great system of democracy at all levels of government and we fight with words and ideas, not bullets. We get to peaceful resolutions through elections.

Mike Harcourt says affordable housing and managing density are two of the key issues in Vancouver's mayoral race. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Experience and new blood

I enjoyed campaigning and getting some shots thrown at me, and throwing a few back. It's trying to let the people in the audience know what you knew about the issues and what you thought needed to be done over the next years.

The last week is when the momentum really builds. I remember in my campaign, you just felt the change in momentum starting to happen in the final weeks.

This week is all about the three "Ps": Candidates are going to be focused on poll cards, pulling the vote, and then partying on Saturday night — either a wake or a celebration.

A final "P" is patience for those candidates who don't win the vote this time. There's always a chance to run again.

There are a lot of candidates running for mayor and, while name recognition is important when it comes to voting, I'm excited about so much new blood coming into the system.

That renewal is a major plus for this election cycle — you need a mix of experience and new blood.

Voting day in B.C. is Oct. 20. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Voting strategies

When I was voting this week in the advance polls, I had to turn the ballot sideways in the voting booth it was so long — it's about a metre long, so it's intimidating.

You've got to know who you are going to vote for and you should take your list to the polls — that makes it a lot easier. 

In terms of voting strategically and concerns around vote splitting, I vote strategically and I plump [casting just one or two votes instead of the full number allowed].

In other words, I vote a combination of the best people and basically the Labour Council-endorsed slate in Vancouver.

The main point is: Get out and vote.

With files from The Early Edition

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