Former Canadian prime minister Harper leaves politics

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TORONTO (AP) — Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has resigned his seat in Parliament.

Harper announced he was stepping down as the member of Parliament for the district of Calgary Heritage in a statement and on social media. Harper had stepped down as Conservative party leader in October on the night he lost the election to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, but had chosen to remain as a member of Parliament.

Harper served as prime minister for almost a decade. Canada shifted to the center-right under Harper, who lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, strongly supported the oil and gas extraction industry and backed the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His legacy includes merging two conservative parties in Canada.

Harper now plans to consult on international issues.

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