Since the end of his tenure as Prime Minister, it’s safe to assume that Mr. Harper has a lot more free time on his hands. In the wake of his October 2015 loss to Justin Trudeau, Harper resigned as leader and only recently resigned as an MP, so it is natural, then, to wonder what the former iron haired commander is up to. He was spotted donning a baseball cap in order to prevent his vampire skin from burning in Las Vegas but it seems unlikely he’d take up a career in professional poker, considering his nine years of risk averse government. One also might suspect that he would embark on a nationwide tour with his band The Van Cats, a play on the French name of 24 Sussex or vingt-quatre Sussex. Very clever, Mr. Harper, very clever.
Alas, no, Harper fans will have to wait for the chance to hear melodic caress of Stephen on the ivory keys of a piano (in which he obtained Grade 9 proficiency from the Royal Conservatory of Music). Instead the former Prime Minister has set up his own consulting firm, Harper and Associates Consulting Inc. Aiding him in this new adventure are longtime pals and PMO staffers, Ray Novak and Jeremy Hunt. Now there’s a rock band I’d like to see.
Harper’s consulting, which is aimed at foreign relations and international affairs, will be restricted for the first few years as he is constrained in the same way as other MPs making the jump to the private sector. Under the Lobbying Act, he is restricted from working with public officials on legislation development, whether that be amending, or drafting, and is further exempted from government grants and contracts. It seems that whatever consulting Harper is doing will be of little effect here in Canada. Ironic, considering that Harper was a proponent of the five-year ban in 2006.
The International Law firm, Dentons, seems optimistic of Harper’s new project, joining forces with the new consulting agency and allowing them to work out of the Dentons Calgary office. The consulting agency will specialize in “assisting corporate clients with managing political/geopolitical risk, securing market access, and conducting government relations” said Rachel Curran, a member of Harper’s consulting team. Asked about Harper’s foray back into international relations, Trudeau commented that “he will be able to share his expertise as the former leader of a G7 country, and I hope he will be successful.” A seemingly warm send-off between former political rivals.
When Harper is not building up his international consulting agency however he remains a mystery. Immediately after he resigned as an MP, the media had no clue where the man went. Was he taking long contemplative drives through the Alberta countryside? Or was he enjoying the solidarity of going to the movies by himself? Harper is as secretive in his private life as he was in his political life. He was, after all, never the media’s darling.