Stephen Harper Inc.: Former PM sets up company
OTTAWA -- Former prime minister Stephen Harper is setting himself up for his career away from Parliament, CTV News has learned.
Documents obtained by CTV's Glen McGregor show Harper set up a corporation, Harper and Associates Consulting Limited, last December. Harper is listed as the sole director.
CTV News confirmed earlier today that Harper will step down as an MP before the fall sitting of Parliament, but there are no plans to announce a date this weekend at the Conservative Party's convention.
This weekend's convention is in Vancouver, the first since last fall's election loss to the Liberals. Harper will address the convention, which is expected to spend time celebrating his time in power and contribution to conservative politics.
There's no departure date yet for Harper, but a fall retirement "has the ring of truth to it" based on the lecture circuit plan, the source told CTV News Channel’s Mercedes Stephenson. Another source confirmed it will happen by fall.
The Conservative MP, who led the party to a loss in the Oct. 19, 2015 election, is planning to take on life as a public intellectual. Harper has done no interviews since the election and hasn't even spoken in the House of Commons, leading to a greater demand to hear from the man who served as prime minister for nearly a decade.
Harper announced his resignation as party leader through a statement emailed to reporters on election night. He proceeded to give a speech to supporters in Calgary without mentioning he had just resigned.
The former leader is also expected to take two long-time loyalists with him. Ray Novak, Harper's former chief of staff, and Jeremy Hunt, Harper's former executive assistant and senior adviser, will follow him to the next job.
The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday that Harper wouldn't be back in the House in September.
Harper is expected to speak for only five to seven minutes, according to a party insider, and expected to be humble and personal. His instinct was to attend the convention without speaking, the insider said, but interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose urged him to give a speech.
Harper has avoided caucus meetings since the Oct. 19 loss, though he attends votes in the House. Insiders say he didn’t want to insert himself into party affairs.
Now that he’s considering his next move, however, he needs the freedom to pursue his options without worrying about the ethical obligations he has as an MP.
As prime minister, Harper’s international interests included maternal, newborn and child health, as well as democracy issues. He’s already been approached about working on those sorts of issues, according to the source.
Harper has spent nearly his entire adult life in politics, both as a staffer and an MP. He was first elected in 1993, after running and losing in 1988. Harper served one term before moving to lead the National Citizens Coalition, a conservative organization that lobbies for lower taxes and smaller government. He returned to Parliament in a 2002 byelection and took over as leader of the Canadian Alliance before uniting it with the Progressive Conservatives. He was the only long-term leader of the Conservative Party of Canada until Ambrose took over as interim leader following the election loss (Senator John Lynch-Staunton served as acting leader for three months before Harper took over).
Andrew MacDougall, who served as Harper's spokesman for several years, says money won't be the motivating factor for the former Conservative leader.
"I think he'd like to add his voice to the [global] debates... There are no shortages of problems out there in the world and there should be no shortage of serious people looking to address those problems. And the former prime minister, as we all know, is a serious person who has something to say about these things," MacDougall said in an interview.