Harry Rankin, civic politician, lawyer, journalist (born 8 May 1920 in Vancouver, BC; died 26 February 2002 in Vancouver, BC).
Harry Rankin, civic politician, lawyer, journalist (born 8 May 1920 in Vancouver, BC; died 26 February 2002 in Vancouver, BC). Rankin was an outstanding advocate and leader of the citizens' movement for reform in Vancouver. After serving in the Second World War, he completed a law degree at the University of British Columbia, where he became a socialist and consequently was almost refused admission to the bar in 1950. Rankin earned a reputation as an articulate defender of the underprivileged, specializing in labour law, criminal law and civil liberties cases.
He was elected to Vancouver City Council in 1966 and joined other groups in 1968 to form a union-based left-wing coalition, the Committee of Progressive Electors (COPE). As COPE's only alderman and in a weekly newspaper column, Rankin challenged pro-development politicians and focused attention on neglected social issues throughout the 1970s. In civic elections he regularly topped the polls as an aldermanic candidate but lost as a mayoralty candidate in 1986 to Gordon Campbell (who became premier of British Columbia in 2001). Rankin returned to council as an alderman and retired from politics in 1993.