Harper at the G8 summit, June 6, 2007
|Born||Laureen Ann Teskey
June 23, 1963
Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada
24 Sussex Drive (2006–present)
|Other names||Laureen Teskey Harper
Laureen Ann Teskey
|Alma mater||Southern Alberta Institute of Technology|
|Known for||Current Spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada|
|Spouse(s)||Neil Fenton (1985–1988; divorced)
Stephen Harper (1993–present); 2 children
|Children||Benjamin and Rachel Harper|
|Parents||Dennis and Barbara Teskey (divorced)|
Laureen Ann Harper (née Teskey; born June 23, 1963) is the wife of Canada's 22nd Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Life and career
The eldest of three, Laureen Ann Teskey was born in Turner Valley, a rural town south-west of Calgary, to rancher parents who owned an electrical contracting company. Her parents, Barbara and Dennis Teskey, divorced in 1991, after 29 years. After graduating from Oilfields High School, she attended the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology where she studied journalism and photography.
She was first married to a New Zealander, Neil Fenton from April 1985 to 1988. Teskey joined the Reform Party of Canada in the late 1980s, and met Stephen Harper at the Reform assembly in Saskatoon in 1990. They married on December 11, 1993. Some of Harper's earliest political contemporaries, including Jim Hawkes, Preston Manning and Deborah Grey, have said that the 'intensely cerebral' [Stephen] Harper appreciably "mellowed" after their marriage. Media reports have generally credited her as far more personable and friendly in front of the cameras than her husband. She and her husband have two children.
There was confusion in the Canadian media about which surname she uses — at different times, media references to her have called her Teskey, Harper, or Teskey Harper (not hyphenated). On January 26, 2006, she advised the Canadian Press that she wishes to be known as Laureen Harper in her public role as a spouse of the Prime Minister.
Since assuming her role in 2006, as spouse of the Prime Minister she has played an active role in campaigning alongside her husband. She is frequently seen at the podium on behalf of and with her husband. Within the Conservative Party of Canada, she is nicknamed the "secret weapon".
She has had an active public life since her arrival at 24 Sussex Drive. She has supported causes such as the OHS and also the National Arts Centre where she has been Honorary Gala Chair since 2005. She is particularly active in accompanying her husband on international trips, for example the G8, G20 and others. Mrs. Harper hosted the spouses of G8,G20 leaders in June 2010 in Toronto. She created some controversy when she notified the National Arts Centre on September 24, 2008 that she would not be able to fulfill her role as Honorary Gala chair on October 4. This announcement came just days after her husband said that rich galas aren't something that resonate with ordinary people. Mrs. Harper later responded saying that the circumstances of her being unable to attend had nothing to do with her husband's comments. She attended the gala the following year as Honorary Chair.
On June 3, 2013, Harper and Ottawa city councillor Allan Hubley announced a new federal anti-bullying strategy, which will see approximately 2,400 teenagers across Canada trained in delivering peer education workshops and presentations against bullying for their fellow students.
- Gignac, Tamara, "From Turner Valley to 24 Sussex Drive", Calgary Herald, p. A1, January 28, 2006.
- Kingston, Anne, "Wife of the party", Maclean's, August 13, 2007
- "Feds pledge $250K to youth-led anti-bullying project". CBC News, June 3, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Laureen Harper.|
Sheila Cowan Martin
|Spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada