Stephen Joseph Harper (born April 30, 1959) is the twenty-second and current Prime Minister of Canada, and leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Harper became Prime Minister after his party won a minority government in the January 2006 federal election. He is the first Prime Minister from his current political party, and the first since 1993 from any Conservative party, following twelve years of government by the Liberal Party. Harper is the first Canadian prime minister born in the second half of the twentieth century.
Canada's next parliamentary elections were held in 2006. In his campaign, Harper had promised to cut taxes, reduce crime, and increase military spending. He proposed a plan to help parents pay for child care. He called for regulations to reduce government corruption. He also pledged to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan to help fight the war on terrorism. The Conservatives won the election by a narrow margin. Harper was sworn in as prime minister on February 6, 2006.