Harper entered provincial politics in 1981 when he was elected as an MLA for Rupertsland, joining the Cabinet in 1986 as a minister without portfolio responsible for Native Affairs. In 1987 he became minister of Northern Affairs for Manitoba.
In 1990 Harper rose to national prominence for his opposition to the Meech Lake Accord. Harper initiated procedural delays in the Manitoba legislature that threatened to extend the vote beyond the deadline established for the accord. Clyde WELLS, in response to Harper's initiative, refused to take a vote in Newfoundland, arguing that the situation in Manitoba made it irrelevant. As a result, the deadline for entrenchment passed and the Accord collapsed (see CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY).
Harper entered federal politics in April 1993 when he was elected as the Liberal candidate for the riding of Churchill and he served as MP for that riding until 1997. In 1999 he was appointed a commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission.
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
Constitutional Discord: Meech Lake
A great collection of old news videos featuring former Canadian political leaders debating the pros and cons of the Meech Lake accord. A CBC Archives website.
Elijah Harper, key player in Meech Lake accord, dies at 64
A CBC News obituary for Elijah Harper, former First-Nations leader, Manitoba MLA, and Member of Parliament.