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To find a Conservative prime minister who served longer then Stephen Harper, you have to go back all the way to Sir John A. Macdonald. The only Conservative Party of Canada leader to become prime minister so far, Harper helped take Canada from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s, through two minority governments and one majority.
Born on April 30, 1959 in Toronto, Harper would grow up in the Leaside neighbourhood as the oldest of three sons to Margaret and Joe Harper. The Harper family dates back in Canada to 1784 when Christopher Harper came from Yorkshire to settle in Nova Scotia, where he would become the Justice of the Peace for New Brunswick. The family had a love of history that would be inherited by the children as well. Joseph would often spend nights and weekends researching military insignia and in 1992, he released the book Old Colours Never Die, which is a catalogue of military flags, pennants and regimental colours in Canada. Years later when Joseph visited his son in Ottawa, he spent two weeks in the legislative library, researching naval history. Harper’s brother Grant is one of Canada’s leading collectors of political memorabilia.
Harper would attend the Richview Collegiate Institute, where he was a member of the Liberal Club at the school but due to the National Energy Program, he became disenchanted with the party and would change his party allegiance to the Progressive Conservatives.
In 1978, Harper would compete in the CBC program Reach for the Top, a game show that pitted high school students against each other from the 1960s to the 1980s. While his high school lost, Harper was able to record 80 points in his only appearance on the show.
After graduating the same year he was on the show, Harper would enroll at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College but two months into his first year he dropped out and moved to Alberta, which he would describe as a choice made because he wanted to establish independence from his parents. Settling first in Edmonton when he was 19, he would move to Calgary two years later.
Three years later, he enrolled at the University of Calgary, earning a bachelors degree in Economics in 1985 and a masters degree in 1991. His Masters Thesis would be titled “The Political Business Cycle and Fiscal Policy in Canada”. During this time, he worked at various jobs including as a mailroom clerk for Imperial Oil.
In 1993, he would marry Laureen Teskey, and the couple would have two children, Benjamin and Rachel.
In 1981, he would get his first experience in politics when he worked for Jim Hawkes, the Progressive Conservative candidate from Calgary. That relationship would extend into the mid-1980s when Hawkes was part of the Brian Mulroney landslide victory. Harper would travel to Ottawa to work for Hawkes before coming back to Alberta after he became disillusioned with the Mulroney government.
Around this same time, the Reform Party was beginning to rise in prominence. Created in 1987, he occupied a centre-right to right-wing position and was founded as a Western Canada-based protest movement whose members were discouraged with the Mulroney government. It was the perfect place for Harper, who was trying to find a party that matched his own ideals. Harper quickly became an important figure in the early party and he would be the party’s first chief policy officer under its leader, Preston Manning. He would draft the party platform and the statement of principles, which would form the basis of the party’s policy bible, also known as The Blue Book.
In 1988, Harper would run for a seat in the House of Commons against Hawkes, his old boss, but was easily defeated, finishing second but 21,000 votes behind Hawkes. Harper would call Hawkes and ask if it was okay. Hawkes would say years later, quote:
“He phoned me up to ask if it would be okay because he didn’t want to interfere with our relationship.”
Harper would then begin working as the policy advisor for Deborah Gray, the first Reform MP, while also serving as the policy chief of the party.
By 1992, Harper’s relationship with party founder Manning would become strained due to the Charlottetown Accord. Harper opposed the Accord for ideological reasons, while Manning was open to compromise with the Mulroney government over it. Due to this, and disagreements over the hiring of Rick Anderson as an advisor, he would resign as policy chief in October of 1992.
In 1993, Harper was able to unseat Hawkes when he took 52.2 per cent of the vote, amid the collapse of the Progressive Conservative Party. Hawkes, would finish a distant third, 21,000 votes behind Harper this time. At the time, it created bitterness between the two friends, but in the years since they have reconciled.
Hawkes would say later in 2013, quote:
He then served as the Reform Party’s critic for finance and national unity and gained attention in the party for his quick intellect, analytical skills and ability to speak French and English.
During this time, he would reestablish his relationship with Manning, and stood with him when Manning introduced a 20-point plan to decentralize Canada if the Quebec Referendum came back with a No vote, which it did. By this point, Harper was making a name for himself for his opposition to centralized federalism.
Harper also established himself as a socially-conservative member of the Reform party. In 1994, he would oppose plans by Allan Rock, the federal Justice Minister, to introduce spousal benefits for same-sex couples. In response to the proposal, Harper would say, quote:
“What I hope they learn is not to get into it. There are more important social and economic issues, not to mention the unity question.”
At the policy convention of the party in 1994, Harper was part of a very small minority who voted against restricting the definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman. He would also oppose same-sex marriage and benefits for same sex couples at the convention, but stated that it was because he felt parties should not take official positions on such matters. While in 2005 Harper would speak at an anti-gay marriage rally as opposition leader, his personal history shows that he never seemed to have an issue with same-sex marriage.
In 1993, during a debate in Calgary, Harper would state that sexual orientation was no one’s business. He would say at the time, quote:
“I’ve been on my own for a long time and I have never been asked about my sexual orientation.”
In 2004, he would meet with Scott Brison, an openly-gay Nova Scotia politician who opposed the Conservative policy on same-sex marriage, in the hopes of keeping him in the party. Brison would say quote:
“He explained to me that while I would be not limited as part of his government, social conservatism was essential as part of any winning conservative movement in Canada.”
The Conservative government under Harper often employed LGBTQ individuals.
By his later years in the first term as a Member of Parliament, his relationship with the leaders of the party once again became strained. He would openly criticize the party’s decision to give Manning a personal expense account while other Reform MPs were asked to forgo expenses. While the leadership seemed to be unhappy with him, Harper gained a lot of support from other MPs in the party.
Another issue according to some reports was the work to change the image of Preston Manning, including laser eye surgery, vocal coaching and fresh new suits. Harper apparently didn’t like the makeover and felt that it was a distraction from the Reform message. There is some speculation that Harper leaked the wardrobe allowance story to the press.
Goldy Hyder, a former strategist with the Conservatives, would say quote:
“Stephen quit over that.”
Harper surprised everyone when in 1997, four years into his time as MP, he stepped down from politics. He would soon find himself as the head of the National Citizens Coalition, a conservative think tank and public advocacy group.
Within this think tank, his main concern was the lack of respect he felt the federal government gave Alberta and its oil producing wealth. In 2001, Harper and five members of what was called The Calgary School, which was a group of conservative academics from the University of Calgary, wrote a National Post article that stated Alberta should build firewalls to protect itself from an aggressive federal government.
While out of politics officially, Harper would still voice opposition on various matters. He was against the Calgary Declaration on national unity. The declaration was an agreement between most of the premiers about how to approach future changes to the Constitution. The declaration referred to the unique character of Quebec, rather than recognizing Quebec as a distinct society. Harper stated it was noting more than an appeasement strategy against Quebec nationalism.
In 1997, Harper would speak on Canadian identity at the Council for National Policy, an American think tank, where he would state, quote:
“Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term and very proud of it…If you’re like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians….The NDP is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.”
The speech would come back to haunt Harper, and was used to criticize him in 2006. Harper would say that the speech was intended as humour.
In 1998, Harper gave some thought to campaigning for the Progressive Conservatives Party leadership but decided that doing so would burn bridges to what he saw as Reformers that he worked with for many years.
In 1999, Harper would be in Montreal and by chance came across former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He would write after Trudeau’s death a year later, quote:
“There I came face to face with a living legend, someone who had provoked in me both the loves and hatreds of my political passion, all in the form of a tired out, little, old man. It was an experience at once unforgettable, nostalgic and haunting.”
Harper would spend four years with the National Citizens Coalition, during which time the Reform Party became the Official Opposition in the House of Commons. It had also changed its name to the Canadian Alliance, and many started to speculate if Harper would rejoin the party.
Harper would also predict that Stockwell Day would defeat Manning for the party leadership, and he believed that Day did not have the ability to lead the party, stating that Day was, quote:
“Making adherence to his social views a litmus test to determine whether you’re in the party or not.”
Harper would endorse Tom Long for the party leadership stating that he was best suited to have the support of the Progressive Conservatives. Day would win on the first ballot, and Harper would state the party was now shifting, quote:
“more towards being a party of the religious right.”
The party would do poorly in the 2000 election, and Harper would co-author the Alberta Agenda document, which called for Alberta to replace the Canada Pension Plan with a provincial plan, and replace the RCMP with a provincial police force.
In 2002, did decide that it was time to rejoin the party and he ran for leadership against Stockwell Day, the previous leader of the party for the past four years. This came after many in the party called for Day to resign. In June of 2001, there was a report in the National Post that stated Reform MPs were beginning to organize a leadership challenge for Harper.
During the leadership race, he stated that he would not co-operate with the Progressive Conservatives as long as they were led by Joe Clark, he wanted greater provincial autonomy on Medicare, and that he believed in the parental right to use corporal punishment against their children, and he wanted to raise the age of sexual consent.
On the first ballot, he would defeat Day with 55 per cent of the vote, becoming the new leader of the party. He then returned to the House of Commons through a by-election, representing Calgary Southwest, the former riding of Preston Manning.
As the Leader of the Opposition now, many questioned if he would be able to win enough in the next election to become the prime minister. Much of the questions came regarding his ability to maintain the unity of the party, and if his policies were too right-wing for Canadians. Harper would prove himself to be adept at building a coalition within the party amid the many different viewpoints of its members. Three weeks after becoming leader of the Canadian Alliance, Harper would reach out to Joe Clark and the Progressive Conservatives regarding a possible merger, a meeting which failed. Things would change when Peter MacKay took over from Clark, and the merger would go forward to create the Conservative Party of Canada.
With Prime Minister Paul Martin still dealing with the Sponsorship Scandal fallout, an issue that was created before he was in power, support for the Liberals was beginning to dry up.
Playing on the fact that Paul Martin was the son of a long-time Liberal cabinet minister, Harper would say during one speech, quote:
“I was not born into a family with a seat at the Cabinet table. I grew up playing on the streets of Toronto, not playing in the corridors of power.”
In the 2004 election, his first as leader of the party, he would bring the Conservatives to 99 seats, turning the Liberal majority government into a minority government for the first time since 1972. In the election, the Conservatives made inroads in rural areas of Ontario, but were shut completely out of Quebec. The election came soon after the Conservative Party had completed its merger, which contributed to the inability of the party to defeat the Liberals despite the scandals that were plaguing it.
On Sept. 9, 2004, Harper met with Block Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe and NDP leader Jack Layton and the three signed a letter and sent it to the governor general, Adrienne Clarkson. The document stated, quote:
The three party leaders then held a joint press conference stating they would co-operate on changing parliamentary rules and they requested that the Governor General consult with them before calling an election. Harper would say, quote:
“It is the Parliament that’s supposed to run the country, not just the largest party and the single leader of that party. That’s a criticism I’ve had and that we’ve had and that most Canadians have had for a long, long time now so this is an opportunity to start to change that.”
He would add that this was not a coalition government, but a co-operative effort.
After the election loss, a leadership review was held in March 2005. As part of a policy update, Harper would drop any opposition to abortion and bilingualism from the platform, and he was endorsed by 84 per cent of the delegates. Harper would also argue for lower taxes, an elected Senate, a tough stance on crime and better relationship with the United States.
Through the next two years, there would be various attempts to initiate a vote of non-confidence to topple the Liberal government, but Paul Martin and his party were able to hang on thanks to support from the NDP. Unfortunately, he would lose that support when he refused to accept the NDP plan to prevent health care privatization. On Nov. 28, 2005, a motion of no confidence was passed in the House of Commons, toppling the government. This was the first time in Canadian history that the government was brought down by a straight motion of no confidence brought forward by the opposition.
The Conservatives would begin by announcing a policy-per-day strategy, which was done because the Liberals would be holding off any major announcements until after Christmas. Throughout the election, Harper’s numbers would rise, and polls found that he was more trustworthy for leadership among voters and he was a better choice for prime minister.
On Jan. 23, 2006, Harper and the Conservatives cruised to a minority government victory, picking up 124 seats to the Liberals 103. This made Harper the first westerner to be elected prime minister since 1979 when Joe Clark took power. It also ended 13 years of Liberal rule, even if he had the smallest minority government in Canadian history.
One aspect of the election that would linger for years was the allegation of improper election spending by the Conservative Party. Allegations went on for four years until a plea deal was reached and the Conservatives admitted to improper spending and falsifying records to hide the fact.
On Feb. 6, 2006, Harper became the 22nd prime minister of Canada. One of his first tasks was to cut the federal cabinet from 33 ministers to 27 and most of his cabinet was made up of Albertans or one-time provincial ministers from the Ontario government of Mike Harris. That same year, he became Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year according to Time Magazine. In his opening address to Parliament, Harper payed tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, and stated that Canada and the United Kingdom were joined by quote:
“The golden circle of The Crown, which links us all together with the majestic past that takes us back to the Tudors, the Magna Carta, habeas corpus, petition of rights and English common law.”
Many felt that it was the most monarchist speech in the House of Commons since the days of John Diefenbaker.
Those around Harper quickly found him to be different from other prime ministers in the past. Like Diefenbaker, he rarely drank, often choosing a Diet Coke over liquor. He would often avoid galas and state dinners, choosing to be involved in strategy sessions instead. He was also known to read everything that came through his desk, while other prime ministers mostly skimmed reports from the privy council. He would even catch the smallest spelling errors. Some staffers would say that his dry wit was similar to that of Frasier Crane, and he was apparently highly skilled at impressions, including impersonating prime ministers such as Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and John Diefenbaker.
One of the first acts for Harper’s government was to reduce the GST from seven per cent to five per cent over the course of two years. While this would decrease government revenue by $13 billion a year, Harper argued that it was better to keep the money in the pockets of Canadians than in new government programs.
The Harper government would also pass the Federal Accountability Act, which eliminated corporate and union donations to political parties, while tightening rules related to lobbying. The government also stopped negotiations with the provinces for the creation of a publicly-funded child care program. Instead, they launched a $1,200 per year stipend that was given for each child under the age of six.
Like his predecessor Paul Martin, Harper would make a cameo appearance on Corner Gas on March 12, 2007.
Looking at his first term, a group of independent academics in 2019 looked at past prime ministers and the promises they made in a campaign compared to the promises they kept. According to the study, Harper’s government kept 85 per cent of his campaign promises, including partially-completed pledges. Looking at only completed pledges, his government came through on 77 per cent of promises. Along with Justin Trudeau, Harper had the highest rates of follow-through on promises of any prime minister since 1984.
When Harper was the leader of the opposition, he was in favour of Canada participating in the invasion of Iraq by the United States. Day and Harper would co-write a letter in 2003 to the Wall Street Journal that condemned the Canadian government’s unwillingness to participate in the Iraq Invasion. Once he came to power, he became a supporter of the combat mission in Afghanistan and his first foreign visit as prime minister was to the country in March of 2006. As a result, he became the first sitting prime minister to visit the front lines of a combat operation. In addition to visiting the country, Harper extended the combat role of Canada in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011.
Harper’s government would also strengthen the Criminal Code by putting in higher and mandatory minimum sentences for various crimes, while also doubling the funding of the federal prison system in his first five years in office. While Harper’s government would attempt to put in tough-on-crime laws, the Supreme Court would dismiss them as contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
During the summer of 2006, fighting broke out in Lebanon. With 50,000 Lebanese Canadians in Lebanon, most of whom had dual citizenship. Harpers government would arrange and pay to have many of them returned to Canada. As well, while away on official business, Harper diverted his plane to pick up several citizens.
On Nov. 22, 2006, with the Bloc planning on introducing a motion in the House that called for the recognition of Quebec as a nation, Harper introduced his own motion that would recognize the Quebecois as a nation within a united Canada. The motion would pass by a margin of 266-16.
In the 2008 election, Harper was able to grow the number of seats for the Conservatives, reaching 143 while the Liberals fell to 77. It was still a minority but it was a stronger minority than before. The election was called by Harper because of the severity of the 2008 recession, but his decision also circumvented his own law, passed in 2007, that established fixed election dates. This election would turn out to have the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history, and the Conservatives were elected with only 22 per cent of the support of eligible voters.
In the wake of the financial crisis, Harper’s first budget in his second term limited government spending but provided no economic stimulus either. He would also suspend the right of federal civil servants to strike and the budget would end public funding of political parties. In Parliament, there was immense opposition to the budget and the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois announced they would form a coalition to overturn the government. Harper then asked Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament from Dec. 4, 2008 to Jan. 26, 2009. By the time Parliament resumed, the coalition had unraveled and the Conservatives were able to keep hold of power.
Between 2009 and 2012, the Harper government delivered $45 billion in federal stimulus spending, which created the first federal deficits in a decade. While it created a deficit, it also ensured that Canada emerged from the financial crisis better off than many other nations.
In 2009, Harper once again prorogued Parliament, which many saw as an attempt to avoid an inquiry into Canada’s role regarding the treatment of Afghan detainees. This proroguing of parliament lasted from Dec. 30, 2009 to March 3, 2010, after the 2010 Winter Olympics had been completed. Several critics accused Harper of shutting democracy. Small demonstrations took place on Jan. 23 in 64 Canadian communities, and five cities in other countries. A protest group started on Facebook quickly signed up 20,000 members. On Jan. 7, an Angus Reid poll found 53 per cent of respondents were opposed to the prorogation, with 38 per cent believing that Harper was avoiding the Afghan detainee issue.
In February 2012, the Harper government would pass Bill C-30, also known as the Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act. The legislation didn’t actually have provisions related to child sexual abuse online, but it did provide law enforcement the ability to track online activity, including gathering information without a warrant. The legislation resulted in a huge backlash from the public and would not pass into law as a result.
On March 25, 2011, Parliament would vote 156 to 145 in a non-confidence vote citing contempt of Parliament regarding a refusal to disclose information the cost of its law-and-order agenda, the purchase of fighter jets and a corporate tax cut. This charge of contempt was a first in Canadian history but it would backfire on the opposition. On the May 2, 2011 election, Harper returned with his first majority government, winning 166 of 308 seats. This gave a Conservative party its first majority since 1988, when the Mulroney Progressive Conservatives earned their second majority government. This election was one of the most impactful in Canadian history. For the first time ever, the Liberals were relegated to third party status, while the NDP became the Official Opposition for the first time. The Bloc Quebecois collapsed and lost official party status, while the Green Party elected its first MP. The win also brought about accusations that the Conservatives had used robocalls to direct voters to fake polling stations. There were complaints issued in 247 of Canada’s 308 ridings. Conservative staff member Michael Sona would be convicted and jailed for the scandal. Several protests occurred in March and April of 2012 in 27 Canadian cities, but the Commissioner of Canada Elections would state that after an investigation, there was not enough evidence to provide grounds to believe an offense had been committed.
With that third consecutive win, Harper became the first Conservative prime minister to win three elections in a row since John Diefenbaker did between 1957 and 1962. Only Diefenbaker, Sir John A. Macdonald and Harper have accomplished this as Conservative leaders.
Throughout Harper’s time in the Prime Minister’s office, he took a strong pro-Israel stance. In 2012, he would suspend relations with Iran, and Canada would be one of only nine countries to vote against a United Nations resolution giving Palestine symbolic statehood.
Crime was also a big part of Harper’s majority government agenda, and his government would grant new surveillance and detention powers to police under Bill C-51, which came about after the shootings on Parliament Hill on Oct. 22, 2014. With his majority government, Harper also eliminated the long-form census and federal allowances to registered political parties. His government also sold the Canadian Wheat Board, reduced MP pensions and abolished the long gun registry.
Harper’s government also put strong emphasis on Arctic sovereignty, while also drafting new trade deals with South Korea, the Pacific Rim and the European Union.
In 2015, Harper would call an 11-week election campaign. During the campaign, Harper issued several tax breaks, but his campaign quickly began to sputter amid the fraud trail of Senator Mike Duffy, which stated that Harper knew about the $90,000 cheque written by his chief of staff to cover the falsely-claimed expenses of Duffy. Another major issue came about when Harper promised to oppose a woman’s right to wear a niqab in a citizenship ceremony. This grew into an election issue and it ate away at his support as people began to align more with the NDP, especially in Quebec.
On Oct. 19, 2015, Harper’s government fell to the Liberals under new leader Justin Trudeau, who won 184 seats and a majority government. The Conservatives won 99 seats and Harper soon resigned as leader of the party. The Conservatives would lose all their seats in Toronto, winning only three in the greater Toronto area, and were shut out of Atlantic Canada.
While some have criticized Harper, there were several bright spots for his government. He would officially apologize to Chinese Canadians for the Chinese Head Tax, implemented by Sir John A. Macdonald and expanded from 1885 to 1923. He would recognize the Quebecois as a nation within Canada, helping to reduce the separatism rhetoric in the province, and he apologized to the Indigenous people for the government’s role in creating the residential school system.
In his apology on June 11, 2008, he would state quote:
On the flip side, Harpers government also refused to release records related to residential schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, while also reducing funding to Indigenous organizations and programs. The Jobs and Growth Act of 2012, and anger over it led to the Idle No More movement. His government also increased the budget for Veterans Affairs Canada from $2.85 billion in 2005 to $3.55 billion in 2015, even while the number of veterans being served declined by 20,000 in that same time period.
From 2006 to 2008, the Harper government would have budget surpluses of $13.8 and $9.6 billion, but that would change the following year due to the 2008 financial crisis. From 2009 to 2013, the budget would fall into a deficit, with a height of $55.6 billion in 2009, and a low of $5.2 billion in 2013. In 2014, the budget was balanced with a surplus of $1.9 billion.
Harper also made international relations a priority during his time in office. He would travel to China in 2009, the first time a Canadian prime minister had visited China in five years. He would address the Australian Parliament in 2007 and he stated in 2015 that Russia should be removed from the G7, stating quote:
“Mr. Putin has no place at the G7 table and I don’t believe there is any leader who would defend Mr. Putin having a place.”
Harper would also cut foreign aid to Africa by $700 million during his time in office.
One of the most contentious issues related to Harper comes on the environmental side of things. On the one hand, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 20 metric tons between 2006 and 2015, compared to a 149 metric ton increase from 1993 to 2006. Much of this reduction is attributed to the initiatives by provincial governments, and the ending of coal fired power plants in Ontario, as well as the economic recession. As was stated before, the Harper government withdrew Canada from the Kyoto Protocol. Harper’s government would invest $5 billion in public transit projects in Canada from 2006 to 2013, and provide a 15 per cent Public Transit Tax Credit for citizens who used transit passes.
Scientific transparency was also an issue under the Harper government. Scientists employed by the government were not allowed to speak to the media or report their findings without government permission and significant cuts were made to research and other forms of data collection. Over 2,000 scientists were dismissed and funding was cut to many research facilities under Harper. Some funding cuts were so deep that the monitoring of smoke stack emissions, food inspections, oil spills, water quality and climate change were shut down entirely in some places.
Now sitting as a backbencher, Harper kept a low profile and attended Parliament only for votes. Rather than talk to the media, he would often exit out the back door. His first public appearance after he resigned as leader was at the Conservative Party policy convention on May 26, 2016. He would say at that event, quote:
“We have a proud record but the past is no place to linger. Now is the time to look forward. Our party’s journey is only beginning.”
On Aug. 26, 2016, Harper resigned as an MP in a video he posted to his social media accounts.
Following his resignation, Harper launched the Harper and Associates Consulting Inc company. In 2017, he would take on a position as an advisor with the Silicon Valley tech fund 8VC, which invests in health care, financial and transportation companies.
On Oct. 16, 2018, he would publish Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption.
Harper was an avid fan of hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as the Calgary Flames. He would write the book A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey.
In 2019, Harper was presented with the Order of Canada. He was also made an Honorary Chief of the Alberta Blood Tribe due to his apology for the residential school abuse that happened in the 20th century. In 2012, he was named the World Statesman of the Year and he would also receive the Woodrow Wilson Award thanks to his public service while living in Calgary.
Upon the resignation of Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, some speculated that Harper would run to replace him. That of course, didn’t happen, but it shows the long shadow Harper casts over the party he once led to its greatest height.
Information comes from Canadian Encyclopedia, National Post, Wikipedia, CBC, Maclean’s, Library and Archives Canada, The Canada Guide, BBC,