Former PM Stephen Harper invested into Order of Canada in London – National

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If Shakespeare thought that misery introduces people to odd bedfellows, he might agree that mourning the loss of a cherished monarch can bridge some political divides, too.

At least temporarily.

Such was the case in London on Sunday when former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was invested in the Order of Canada while three of his former political nemesis looked on.

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Harper is one of four former Prime Ministers in the British capital for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the Companion of the Order of Canada in 2019, but an investiture ceremony had not taken place due to COVID-19.

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For example, on Sunday afternoon, Governor-General Mary Simon invested Harper in a private ceremony in London while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Kim Campbell looked on.

“As we gather to celebrate (the Queen), I was honored to be invested in the Order of Canada by GGCanada Mary Simon,” Harper said in a tweet released about the event.

“Thank you to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, fellow former Prime Ministers Martin, Chretien, Campbell and former Governors General Johnston & Jean for attending the ceremony.”

As we gather to celebrate HM QEII, I was honored to be invested in the Order of Canada by @GGCanada Mary Simon. Thank you @CanadianPM Trudeau, fellow former Prime Ministers Martin, Chrétien, Campbell and former Governors-General Johnston and Jean for attending the ceremony. pic.twitter.com/1D0YzX2alu

— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) September 18, 2022

Former Governor General David Johnston, whom Harper had appointed, and Michaelle Jean were also present.

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Notably, the bad political blood between Harper and Trudeau is well documented, but the two posed side-by-side for photos after the ceremony.

Having several former prime ministers and governors-general attend a world funeral together is not an uncommon practice.

While Harper was Prime Minister in 2013, Chretien, Campbell, Jean, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney flew with him to South Africa for the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

In her own tweet last week, Harper’s wife, Laureen Teskey Harper, responded to a journalist who suggested that flying to London with all the political players on the same plane would be interesting.

“Interesting,” she asked. “Very interesting if past trips are a reference. Lots of laughter, stories and I’m sure I’ll be thinking back to the Queen this time. It is always wonderful to take part in such trips.”

Chretien spoke briefly to the media on Sunday and was asked if he was with all the other Canadian leaders.

“So many together and no fight,” he said, laughing. “So that’s good.”


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Procedure for replacing the Queen’s image with King Charles III. runs


Procedure for replacing the Queen’s image with King Charles III. runs

He said there are not many opportunities for this type of gathering.

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“We know each other, have been through the same struggles,” he said. “We fought each other. Just like in hockey, we can be hard on the ice, then we’ll go for a beer after the game.”

Order of Canada ceremonies are not normally held in secret, but Rideau Hall and the Prime Minister’s Office chose not to inform the media traveling with the delegation of either Harper’s event on Sunday or a similar Saturday attended by actress Sandra Oh and Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury invested the order. An explanation for the non-disclosure has not yet been offered.

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Tewksbury later said the ceremony allowed him and Oh to wear the regalia of the Order of Canada to the Queen’s funeral, to be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

© 2022 The Canadian Press