Luke Sharrett / New York Times

Former President Barack Obama meeting with Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the Oval Office in 2009.

February 19, 2019

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Speak at Cornell

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Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will address the Cornell community next month. The leader, after serving about nine-and-a-half years as head of government, was invited by the Cornell Republicans.

Harper will address the Cornell community on March 7 at 4:30 p.m. in Uris Hall G01.

In addition to this lecture catering to the entire Cornell community, Harper will also speak at smaller events for individual clubs. For his lecture, the former prime minister will draw on his recently published book, “Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption.”

In his book, Harper claims that President Trump’s election to office should be a wake-up call for conservatives across the world to shift away from a doctrinal adherence to the free market and consider “present-day populism,” according to a Washington Times book review.

“Harper contends that Donald Trump’s surprise election and governing agenda clearly signal that political, economic, and social institutions must be more responsive to legitimate concerns about public policy, market regulation, immigration, and technology,” reads the book’s preview on Amazon.
Michael Johns ’20, Sun columnist and president of Cornell Republicans, emphasized Harper’s current role as chair of the International Democratic Union, a coalition of conservative political parties from across the world. “[He] has the opportunity to bring us great perspective, if not on American politics, but on politics more essentially,” Johns said.

After uniting the Canadian Tories in 2003 under the newly constituted Conservative Party of Canada, Harper served as Canada’s prime minister from February 2006 to November 2015.

The legacy of his roughly nine-and-a-half-year tenure remains complicated. Under his premiership, Canada emerged from the 2008 Great Recession relatively unscathed, putting his country towards steady recovery while keeping down the national debt at a comparatively lower amount, according to The Economist.

Harper also campaigned in 2006 for better government accountability after a 2004 scandal incriminated Canada’s liberal party. His government soon passed the Federal Accountability Act in 2006, but Harper’s conservative party was also incriminated in several scandals later in his tenure.

Cornell Republicans have hosted many other conservative speakers in the past, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The group will post information on how to acquire the tickets on their Facebook page once they finalize event logistics with the University. The event’s tickets will be electronically distributed and limited to one per person, Johns said.

“We will be working closely with Cornell police to ensure that all those who oppose this event [will] have a safe and protected opportunity to express their view,” he told The Sun.
Harper will not be the only speaker to lecture at Cornell at the invitation of Cornell Republicans this semester: Johns said that the group plans to announce a second speaker event which will take place after spring break.

“Given that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was intended to be our fall speaker, who unfortunately had to postpone his visit to March 7, we will be having a doubleheader speaking event this semester,” Johns said.