Calgary – Last week, former prime minister Stephen Harper officially retired from politics. This week, the former politician, often – and some would say unfairly – described as emotionless and cold, gave Canadians a rare glimpse at his warm and fuzzy side, by announcing plans to open a new cat shelter with his wife Laureen in the heart of Calgary.
The pet project is an extension of the work started by Laureen during her time at 24 Sussex Drive – the official residence of Canada’s Prime Minister in Ottawa. At the height of Laureen’s rescue effort, “dozens of cats,” including “special-care felines,” lived in an “upstairs space set aside with litter and toys.”
Since Harper’s defeat in the 2015 general election, the official residence has been declared unfit for habitation by a prime minister – leaving PM Trudeau and his young family to live at a small 22-room, 19th century cottage located on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence. Laureen had planned to use the cottage to exhibit her menagerie of cats, but she scrapped those plans the moment she heard that a re-elected Harper government would implement a ‘barbaric cultural practices’ hotline.
Meanwhile, back in Alberta on Wednesday, Harper and his wife Laureen issued a joint statement saying they plan to open a new and improved “Stephen and Laureen Cat Shelter,” at Calgary’s Stephen Avenue Walk, the city’s only pedestrian mall.
But the shelter isn’t without its controversy. The Harper’s plan to harvest fur from the rescued animals and spin it into yarn for limited-edition Stephen Harper Signature Blue Sweater Vests.
Profits from sales of the sweater vests will be used to fund Ben Harper’s run for his father’s vacant federal seat in Calgary – Heritage.
Image – Harper PMO