70 Facts About Stephen Harper

1. Stephen Harper is currently in his 6th year as Prime Minister of Canada.

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2. Stephen Harper was born on April 30, 1959, in Toronto, Canada.

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3. Stephen Harper was a proponent of lower taxes and an enlarged military, his standing strengthened when his Conservative Party earned a majority in the 2011 federal election.

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4. Stephen Harper launched a series of important trade missions in 2012, beginning with meetings in Beijing with the Chinese government in February that resulted in 21 commercial agreements.

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5. In 2004 Stephen Harper was elected leader of the new party and attempted to define a moderate stance for the Conservatives, advocating tax relief, a balanced budget, and government transparency.

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6. In 2003 Stephen Harper engineered the merger of the Canadian Alliance with the centre-right Progressive Conservative Party to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

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7. Stephen Harper was born in eastern Canada, where he spent his childhood.

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8. Stephen Harper was elected leader of the new party, which failed to best the Liberals in the 2004 elections.

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9. Stephen Harper was still not well known to Canadians, in part because he is unusually private for a politician—"shy to the point of being aloof", observed Clifford Krauss of the New York Times.

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10. Stephen Harper became head of the new party in March of 2004.

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11. Stephen Harper sharply criticized Liberal rule; he called Canada "a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term", meaning that he felt Canada had become too much like socialist-influenced countries such as Sweden.

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12. Stephen Harper starts by introducing himself as a seven-time elected Canadian MP and three-time prime minister.

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13. Stephen Harper had a cameo appearance in an episode of the television show Corner Gas which aired March 12, 2007.

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14. Stephen Harper appeared on The Sports Network during the broadcast of the Canada–Russia final of the 2007 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

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15. Stephen Harper is the third prime minister, after Pierre Trudeau and John Turner, to send his children to Rockcliffe Park Public School, in Ottawa.

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16. On September 27, 2012, Stephen Harper received the World Statesman of the Year award.

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17. Stephen Harper was made honorary chief of the Kainai Nation during a ceremony, in which they recognized him for making an official apology on behalf of the Government of Canada for the residential schools abuse.

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18. On July 11, 2011, Stephen Harper was honoured by Alberta's Blood tribe.

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19. Stephen Harper is the first Canadian to be awarded this medal.

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20. On September 5, 2008, Stephen Harper nominated Thomas Cromwell of Nova Scotia Court of Appeal to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the departure of Michel Bastarache.

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21. Stephen Harper has denied that Brodie was responsible for the leak, and launched an investigation to find the source.

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22. Stephen Harper backed Israel's 2014 war in Gaza and condemned Hamas.

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23. Stephen Harper has shown admiration for the State of Israel since the early 1990s.

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24. On September 11, 2007, Stephen Harper visited Australia and addressed its parliament.

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25. In 2006, Stephen Harper implemented the New Veterans Charter passed with all party support by the previous Liberal government.

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26. In 2004, Stephen Harper said "the Upper House remains a dumping ground for the favoured cronies of the prime minister".

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27. Stephen Harper announced in May 2016 that he plans to resign his seat in the House of Commons during the summer before the fall session of parliament.

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28. Stephen Harper resigned as Prime Minister during a meeting with Governor General David Johnston, who accepted the resignation, after which Johnston invited Trudeau to form a government on November 4, 2015.

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29. Stephen Harper was reelected in Calgary Heritage, essentially a reconfigured version of his former riding.

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30. On May 2, 2011, after a five-week campaign, Stephen Harper led the Conservatives to their third consecutive election victory—the first time a centre-right party has accomplished this in half a century.

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31. Stephen Harper was sworn in as Canada's 22nd prime minister on February 6, 2006.

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32. Stephen Harper was criticized for supporting his caucus colleague MP Gurmant Grewal.

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33. Stephen Harper was elected the first leader of the Conservative Party, with a first ballot majority against Belinda Stronach and Tony Clement on March 20, 2004.

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34. On January 12, 2004, Stephen Harper announced his resignation as Leader of the Opposition, to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

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35. Stephen Harper officially became Leader of the Opposition in May 2002.

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36. Stephen Harper told a reporter during the campaign that he "despise[d]" Phipps, and declined to debate him.

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37. Stephen Harper was elected without difficulty over New Democrat Bill Phipps, a former United Church of Canada moderator.

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38. Stephen Harper described his potential support base as "similar to what George Bush tapped".

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39. Stephen Harper eventually won the support of at least 28 Alliance MPs, including Scott Reid, James Rajotte and Keith Martin.

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40. Stephen Harper emerged as Day's main rival, and declared his own candidacy on December 3, 2001.

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41. Stephen Harper announced his resignation from the NCC presidency in August 2001, to prepare a campaign.

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42. Stephen Harper called for a "stronger and much more autonomous Alberta", while rejecting calls for separatism.

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43. Stephen Harper wrote an editorial in late 2000 arguing that Alberta and the rest of Canada were "embark[ing] on divergent and potentially hostile paths to defining their country".

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44. Stephen Harper endorsed Tom Long for the leadership, arguing that Long was best suited to take support from the Progressive Conservative Party.

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45. Stephen Harper expressed concern that the UA would dilute Reform's ideological focus.

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46. Stephen Harper was sceptical about the Reform Party's United Alternative initiative in 1999, arguing that it would serve to consolidate Manning's hold on the party leadership.

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47. Stephen Harper considered campaigning for the Progressive Conservative Party leadership in 1998, after Jean Charest left federal politics.

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48. In 1997, Stephen Harper delivered a controversial speech on Canadian identity to the Council for National Policy, a conservative American think tank.

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49. Stephen Harper led the NCC in several campaigns against the Canadian Wheat Board, and supported Finance Minister Paul Martin's 2000 tax cuts as a positive first step toward tax reform.

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50. In late 1999, Stephen Harper called for the federal government to establish clear rules for any future Quebec referendum on sovereignty.

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51. Stephen Harper was a prominent opponent of the Calgary Declaration on national unity in late 1997, describing it as an "appeasement strategy" against Quebec nationalism.

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52. Stephen Harper resigned his parliamentary seat on January 14, 1997, the same day that he was appointed as a vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, a conservative think-tank and advocacy group.

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53. Stephen Harper was formally rebuked by the Reform executive council despite winning support from some MPs.

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54. Stephen Harper was active on constitutional issues during his first parliament, and played a prominent role in drafting the Reform Party's strategy for the 1995 Quebec referendum.

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55. Stephen Harper emerged a prominent member of the Reform Party caucus.

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56. Stephen Harper stood for office again in the 1993 federal election, and defeated Jim Hawkes amid a significant Reform breakthrough in Western Canada.

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57. Stephen Harper criticized Manning's decision to hire Rick Anderson as an adviser, believing that Anderson was not sufficiently committed to the Reform Party's principles.

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58. Stephen Harper delivered a speech at the Reform Party's 1991 national convention, in which he condemned extremist views.

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59. Stephen Harper became the Reform Party's Chief Policy Officer, and he played a major role in drafting the 1988 election platform.

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60. Stephen Harper became involved in politics as a member of his high school's Young Liberals Club.

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61. Stephen Harper took up post-secondary studies again at the University of Calgary, where he completed a bachelor's degree in economics in 1985.

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62. Stephen Harper enrolled at the University of Toronto but dropped out after two months.

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63. Stephen Harper graduated from high-school in 1978, and was a member of Richview Collegiate's team on Reach for the Top, a televised academic quiz show for high school students.

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64. Stephen Harper was born and raised in Leaside, Toronto, the first of three sons of Margaret and Joseph Harris Harper, an accountant at Imperial Oil.

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65. Stephen Harper officially stepped down as party leader on October 19, 2015 and Rona Ambrose was chosen as interim leader on November 5, 2015.

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66. Stephen Harper was elected as the party's first leader in March 2004.

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67. Stephen Harper was one of the founding members of the Reform Party, but did not seek re-election in the 1997 federal election.

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68. Stephen Harper was elected to the House of Commons of Canada for the riding of Calgary Southwest in Alberta from 2002 to 2015 and for Calgary Heritage until 2016.

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69. Over his career, Stephen Harper was elected to the House of Commons seven times, and served three times as Prime Minister of Canada.

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70. Stephen Harper has served as the leader of the International Democrat Union since February 2018.

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