Birthday: April 30, 1959
Age: 62 Years, 62 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Stephen Joseph Harper
Born in: Leaside, Canada
Famous as: Former Prime Minister of Canada
Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males
political ideology: Conservative Party
Spouse/Ex-: Laureen Harper (m. 1993)
father: Joseph Harris Harper
siblings: Grant Harper, Robert Harper
children: Benjamin Harper, Rachel Harper
education: University of Calgary
awards: Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service
Canada India Foundation (
Who is Stephen Harper?
Stephen Joseph Harper is a Canadian entrepreneur, economist, retired politician, and former Prime Minister of the country. The 22nd person to hold the office, he is the longest-serving Conservative Prime Minister of Canada since Sir John A. Macdonald. He was involved with the ‘Young Liberal Club’ in his school days, but in a complete shift of ideology, he served as the chief aide of Progressive Conservative MP Jim Hawkes in 1985. However, he quickly grew disillusioned, leaving the party before the year was over. After playing a pivotal role in the foundation of the ‘Reform Party of Canada’ in 1987, he served as the head of the 'National Citizens Coalition' and would go on to lead the ‘Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance’. He revolutionised the modern political landscape of his country by consolidating the formerly divided and declining right wing into the ‘Conservative Party’ of Canada (CPC). As a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Calgary Heritage electoral district in Alberta, Harper marshalled CPC to three consecutive federal election victories. He was eventually defeated by the ‘Liberal Party’ of Canada, under the leadership of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He is often regarded as a Conservative and a monarchist in the truest sense, and the policies of his administration reflect that.
Childhood & Early Life
Stephen Harper was born on April 30, 1959, in Leaside, a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to parents Joseph Harris Harper and Margaret (née Johnston). He has two younger brothers, Grant and Robert.
He studied at the ‘Northlea Public School’, and after that at ‘John G. Althouse Middle School’ and ‘Richview Collegiate Institute’, when his family moved to the Etobicoke neighbourhood.
He attended the ‘University of Toronto’ in 1978 for two months before dropping out to relocate to Edmonton, Alberta. He started working at ‘Imperial Oil’, the same company his father was employed for, as a mail-room clerk and in other capacities.
Three years later, he enrolled at the ‘University of Calgary’ and received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1985 and a master’s degree in the same in 1991.
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While politics was not Stephen Harper’s first preference as a career, he did participate in political activities in high school as a member of the ‘Young Liberals Club’. However, his political affiliation changed from liberalism to conservatism when he became disillusioned with Pierre Trudeau’s ‘National Energy Program’.
He joined the ‘Progressive Conservative Party’ in 1985 and worked in the capacity of the chief aide to MP Jim Hawkes. Within a year he quit as he was completely disenchanted with the party and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s government.
Upon an invitation from Preston Manning, the founder and leader of the Canadian ‘Reform Party’, Harper spoke at the party’s inaugural convention in Winnipeg in 1987 and later, joined their ranks as the Chief Policy Officer. He suffered defeat in the first election of his career, the 1988 federal election for the Calgary West seat, losing to Hawkes. Harper would go on to defeat Hawks in the next federal election in 1993.
During his tenure as a Reform Party MP from 1993 to 1997, Harper was vocal about socially conservative issues. He spoke out against Justice Minister Allan Rock’s plans to extend spousal benefits to same-sex couples.
The Reform Party, with Manning at the helm, was rapidly drifting towards populism, something which Harper vehemently opposed. In protest, he decided not to contest in the 1997 federal election. On January 14, 1997, the same day as his resignation, he was picked to be the vice-president of the ‘National Citizens Coalition’, a conservative lobby group. He would eventually serve as the group’s president.
In 2002, he was chosen to lead the ‘Canadian Alliance’, the new avatar of the ‘Reform Party’. He had always held the view that the Liberal Party owed much of its success in elections since 1993 to the failure of conservatives to project a united front. He worked alongside PC leader Peter MacKay to that effect and set up a united ‘Conservative Party’ of Canada in 2003.
After rendering the Liberals to establish a minority government in 2004, Harper led the Conservatives to a federal election victory in 2006, receiving 36.3% of the total vote and 124 of 308 seats, which meant that Conservatives would form a minority government as well. On February 6, 2006, he was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada, along with his 27-member cabinet.
Harper remained the Prime Minister for two more terms, both times falling short of the 170-seat mark to form a majority government.
Despite Harper retaining his Calgary-Heritage seat, CPC lost the 2015 federal election in an overwhelming rout to ‘Liberal Party’ led by Justin Trudeau. CPC got 99 seats to Liberal’s 184, while Thomas Mulcair’s ‘New Democratic Party’, ‘Bloc Québécois’ and ‘Green Party’ of Canada accumulated 44, 10, and 1 seats, respectively.
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He briefly served as a Conservative backbencher before announcing his retirement from politics in 2016. He is currently one of the directors at a corporation named ‘Harper & Associates Consulting Inc’.
An important legacy of the Harper administration is the motion that recognized that “the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." It received 266 for and 16 against votes and was subsequently passed.
In his inauguration speech in 2006, he hailed Elizabeth II as the head of state of Canada. He reintroduced the word ‘royal’ to the Canadian army and navy’s official names, 49 years since it was omitted.
Harper’s economic policy was an extremely successful one. Canada came out of the recession economically more stable than any other G7 country. It also registered the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among the same.
The Harper administration called terrorism the greatest struggle of our generation, as fascism and communism had been for the previous ones. Canada’s defence spending rose to an all-time high since World-war II under him, though it still accounted for only 1% of the country’s GDP.
Awards & Achievements
As the ‘Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition’ and an elected ‘Member of the House of Commons’ of Canada, Stephen Harper was conferred with the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal’ for Canada in 2002.
In 2012, he became the recipient of the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal’ for Canada as the Prime Minister of Canada.
The ‘Tel Aviv University’ awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in 2014.
Stephen Harper met his future wife Laureen Ann Teskey in 1990. Teskey, who is a Conservative herself, was working for ‘GTO Printing’ at the time. The computer graphics firm printed the necessary graphs and tables for Harper’s paper for his master's degree in Economics. They wed on December 11, 1993. They have two children together, a son, Benjamin (born 1996) and a daughter, Rachel (born 1999).
His favourite sport is ice hockey. He published ‘A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey’, a non-fiction book about the early decades of professional hockey in North America, on November 5, 2013, through ‘Simon & Schuster Canada’.
Harper has been a supporter of the ice hockey team ‘Toronto Maple Leafs’ since childhood.
Since Joe Clark, the 16th Prime Minister of Canada, he is the only person to hold the office who doesn’t have a law degree.