Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada

"I welcome the new Commission and I am honoured to have been asked to serve as co-chair along with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. Canada’s participation in this Commission means that we will continue to play a leadership role in helping the world meet both G-8 and Millennium Development Goal Summit commitments – commitments that will help significantly reduce the appalling mortality rates among women and children in the developing world. I look forward to working with other members to improve the health of women and children in the world, improve how vital health information is registered, collected and shared, and find the best ways of tracking resources and investments at the global and country levels."

Stephen Harper was sworn in as Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister on 6 February 2006.

Mr. Harper was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 as the Reform Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Calgary West. He stepped down in 1997 to become Vice President (later President) of the National Citizens Coalition, a non-partisan Canadian organization that advocates for individual freedoms and accountable government. In 2002, Mr. Harper won the leadership of the Canadian Alliance, became Leader of the Official Opposition and returned to the House as MP for Calgary Southwest.

In 2003, the members of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Party of Canada voted to unite as the new Conservative Party of Canada, and selected Mr. Harper as their first leader.

Under his leadership, the Conservatives gained 25 seats in the 2004 federal election, largely as a result of a major breakthrough in Canada’s most populous province, Ontario. Two years later, Canadians gave Mr. Harper and his party a mandate to form a Conservative government for the first time in 13 years.

In 2008, the Harper-led Conservatives were returned to office with a larger seat count and a mandate to guide Canada through the volatile economic conditions presaging the worst global recession in half a century.

Now in his fourth year as Prime Minister, Mr. Harper and his Government are working hard to ensure Canada’s economic recovery is strong and sustainable. Keeping taxes low, reducing deficits and laying the foundations for long-term prosperity top the Government’s agenda. Mr. Harper is also continuing to advance Canadians’ interests and values on the international stage in a year when Canada is hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the G8 and G20 summits, and a Royal Tour by Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.

Stephen Harper was born on 30 April 1959, in Toronto, Ontario. He moved to Alberta in 1978 to work in the petroleum industry and went on to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Calgary. Mr. Harper and his wife Laureen have two children, Benjamin and Rachel, and maintain a permanent home in Calgary.

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