A Bragg Creek resident is among eight Albertans receiving the province's highest honour tomorrow.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being celebrated and recognized as one of the newest members of the Alberta Order of Excellence.

The investiture ceremony takes place tomorrow (Oct. 19) at 4 p.m. at Government House in Edmonton. 

Harper is an economist, politician, and author who served as Canada’s 22nd prime minister from 2006 to 2015. He is credited with transforming the country’s political landscape by uniting the previously divided right into the modern Conservative Party of Canada.

Harper won three consecutive national elections, leading Canada through a decade of complex geopolitical, economic, and security challenges.

He oversaw Canada’s involvement in a series of complex conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq. His uncompromising defence of Israel was a centrepiece of his foreign policy. Harper was among the most vocal opponents of Russia’s 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. As the elder statesman of the G8, he led the international organization in expelling Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Beyond the political and economic landscape, Harper is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research and authored the 2013 non-fiction book, A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey. The novel documents the birth of professional hockey at the turn of the 20th century. Proceeds from the book’s sales supported Canadian Forces personnel and family support services.

Since his initial work during the Franklin explorations (2008-2014), he has continued to be actively engaged with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and its mandate to “make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world.” In 2015, he received an honorary fellowship from the society and its Erebus Medal for his contribution toward the discovery of HMS Erebus. In 2020, he wrote a major feature for the society’s magazine Canadian Geographic about the evolution of Canada’s internal boundaries.

His second book, Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption, was published in 2018 and draws on his decade as a G8 leader to help leaders in business and government understand, adapt, and thrive.

Also being honoured are Jim Carter, Edmonton, Max Foran, Priddism, Joe Lukacs, Calgary, Audrey McFarlane, Cold Lake, former senator Claudette Tardif, Calgary, Stella Thompson, Calgary, and Angus Watt, Edmonton

Alberta Order of ExcellenceThe Alberta Order of Excellence Act prescribes a silver, gilt and enamel medallion attached to a ribbon, distinctive to the province, to be worn around the neck.

The Alberta Order of Excellence was created in 1979, with the first investiture in 1981. It recognizes Albertans from all fields of endeavour and backgrounds. Members of the order are entitled to use the post-nominal AOE

The four translucent arms of the medallion are enamelled in blue and are convex, with gold detail underneath the enamel representing prairie wheat.

The roses and rose leaves contained in the angles of the cross are part burnished gold and portray the floral emblem of Alberta.

On the reverse is the maple leaf emblem of Canada, supported by a wreath of wheat.

The provincial coat of arms is highlighted in the front central circle, which is surrounded by an enamel ring containing the title 'The Alberta Order of Excellence.'

Alberta's coat of arms is made up of the Alberta shield, resting on a base of grass and wild roses, with a crest above and supporters on either side:

  • the shield features St. George's Cross on a background of white, along with blue sky, mountains, green hills, prairie and a wheat field.
  • the crest consists of a Royal Crown resting on a beaver, which is sitting on top of a helmet with a red and silver wreath.
  • a pronghorn antelope and lion support the shield on either side.

The motto of Alberta's coat of arms is Fortis et Liber (Strong and Free).

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