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Stephen Harper

Birthdate: 30. April 1959

Stephen Joseph Harper is a Canadian entrepreneur and retired politician who served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada, from February 6, 2006 to November 4, 2015. He was the first Canadian Prime Minister to come from the modern Conservative Party of Canada, which was formed by a merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance.

Harper was member of the House of Commons for the riding of Calgary Southwest in Alberta from 2002 to 2015 . Earlier, from 1993 to 1997, he was the MP for Calgary West, representing the Reform Party of Canada. He was one of the founding members of the Reform Party, but 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 Opposition. In 2003, he reached an agreement with Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay for the merger of their two parties to form the Conservative Party of Canada. He was elected as the party's first leader, in March 2004. Harper stepped down as MP on August 26, 2016.

The 2006 federal election resulted in a minority government led by the Conservative Party with Harper becoming the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada. By proportion of seats, this was Canada's smallest minority government since Confederation. Despite this, it was the longest-serving minority government overall. In the 2008 federal election, the Conservative Party won a stronger minority, showing a small increase in the percentage of the popular vote and increased representation in the Canadian House of Commons, with 143 of 308 seats. The 40th Canadian Parliament was 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 majority government, the first since the 2000 federal election; the party won 166 seats, an increase of 23 seats from the October 2008 election.

Though Harper won his seat of Calgary-Heritage in the 2015 federal election, the Conservative Party was defeated by the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau, who was sworn-in as Harper's successor on November 4, 2015. Harper resigned as party leader on October 19, 2015 and Rona Ambrose was chosen as interim leader on November 5, 2015. Harper moved back to Calgary, Alberta, and commuted to Ottawa as an opposition backbench member of parliament. Andrew Scheer was elected as the next leader of the Conservative Party in May 2017.

„Canada is a vast and empty country.“

—  Stephen Harper

2006 Leaders' Debate, December 15, 2005.
2005

„In the last Parliament, [the Liberal Party] enacted comprehensive gun control…“

—  Stephen Harper

1990s, Speech to the Council for National Policy (1997)

„a light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness
will always have Canada as a friend“

—  Stephen Harper

describing Israel in December 2013 ("last month") according to 18 January 2014 article from Times of Israel https://www.timesofisrael.com/why-is-stephen-harper-one-of-israels-staunchest-supporters/
2013

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