“Greetings, fellow Calgarians and fellow Canadians,” his farewell on Facebook began. From there he thanked Canadians who voted for him and his Conservative Party in two federal elections. Harper served as the elected representative of his Calgary, Albert, constituents for 17 years and as prime minister for almost 10 of those years, from 2006 to 2015, when he and his party were defeated by the Liberals and current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau spoke to reporters and he praised Harper for his years of service, the sacrifices he and his family have made and his grace in accepting defeat to the Liberals last October and handing the reins of government over.
“His service as prime minister, and before that as party leader to country has never been questioned,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister said he would never forget an attack on Parliament Hill by a lone gunman Oct. 22, 2014, where a Canadian soldier was killed as he stood guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The attacker then ran into the Parliament Buildings, where he was shot and killed.
The three party leaders hugged in plain sight in the House of Commons, demonstrating the unity of all Canadians, regardless of political affiliation, Trudeau said.
In his Facebook farewell to Canadians, Harper said he was proud “of what our team accomplished together. We cut taxes, made critical investments and balanced the national budget.
“We managed our G7 economy though the worst global recession since the Great Depression, and came out in the strongest position of them all.”
Harper was not always popular abroad.
Canada was an NATO ally of Turkey, but that did not stop his Conservative Party from labeling what transpired with Armenians in 1915 as the first genocide of the 20th century. However, the government did not mention Turkey.
Harper was a hero to Ukraine, though.
Canada was the first country to recognize Ukrainian independence 25 years ago and Harper was strong in his condemnation of Russia’s invasion of the Crimea.
Harper was awarded the Order of Liberty by the Ukraine on the anniversary of its independence -- Aug. 24 of this week.
Harper closed his Facebook post with these words: “May God bless all of you and may God bless Canada.”