Stephen Harper


Born: Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Stephen Joseph Harper (born April 30, 1959) is a Canadian economist and politician who served as the 22nd prime minister of Canada for nearly a decade, from February 6, 2006, to November 4, 2015. Harper has served as the chairman of the International Democrat Union since February 2018. Over his career, Stephen Harper was elected to the House of Commons seven times, and served nine years as prime minister of Canada, winning three elections as party leader. Harper was the first prime minister to come from the modern Conservative Party of Canada, though older centre-right conservative parties have been active since Canada's founding. Harper was one of the founding members of the Reform Party of Canada and under that banner was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in 1993 in Calgary West. He did not seek re-election in the 1997 federal election. Harper instead joined and later led the National Citizens Coalition, a conservative lobbyist group. In 2002, he succeeded Stockwell Day as leader of the Canadian Alliance, the successor to the Reform Party and returned to parliament as Leader of the Official Opposition by winning Preston Manning's former seat. In 2003, Harper reached an agreement with the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, Peter MacKay, for the merger of their two parties to form the Conservative Party of Canada. Harper was subsequently elected as the party's first leader in March 2004. From 2002 to 2015 as party leader, leader of the Official Opposition, and then prime minister, Harper represented the riding of Calgary Southwest in Alberta. He represented Calgary Heritage from 2015 until 2016 after the Conservatives lost the 2015 election. The 2006 federal election resulted in a minority government led by the Conservative Party with Harper becoming the 22nd prime minister of Canada. This was to become Canada's longest-serving minority government, but by proportion of seats it was also the smallest minority government since Confederation. In the 2008 federal election, the Conservative Party outperformed and won a stronger minority, showing a moderate increase in the percentage of the popular vote and increased representation in the House of Commons of Canada, with 143 of 308 seats. The 40th Canadian Parliament was eventually dissolved in March 2011, after a no-confidence vote that deemed the Cabinet to be in contempt of parliament. In the federal election that followed, the Conservatives won a decisive majority government which was the first majority mandate since the 2000 federal election. In total, the Conservative Party won a majority of 166 seats in 2011, an increase of 23 seats from the October 2008 election. In the 2015 federal election, Harper won his seat of Calgary Heritage but overall the Conservative Party lost power following nearly a decade of governance. Harper continued to serve as prime minister until November 4, 2015, when Justin Trudeau and a Liberal Party of Canada government was officially sworn in. Harper officially stepped down as party leader on October 19, 2015, and Rona Ambrose was subsequently chosen as interim leader on November 5, 2015. On May 26, 2016 he was named as a senior board member for the Conservative Party Fund. After 2015, Harper slowly began to step away from Canadian politics and took on a number of international business and leadership roles, founding a global consulting firm, appearing on US and British media, and being elected leader of the International Democrat Union. In 2017, Andrew Scheer, a former House of Commons speaker, was elected as Harper's successor as leader of the Conservative Party.

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