Stephen Harper to resign from politics on Friday to launch Calgary-based consulting firm

Stephen Harper, who united and revived ’s conservative movement and led it to three election victories, will resign as a to work as a consultant, a familiar with his plans said.

Harper, 57, will launch a Calgary-based consulting firm, Harper and Associates, providing strategic advice with a focus on developing international business, according to the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Harper served as prime minister from 2006 to 2015, when the Conservatives were defeated by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. Canada’s Conservative Party is as much a legacy of Harper as his time as prime minister, and remains in the midst of a leadership race to replace him as Trudeau soars in opinion polls.

“We gave everything we have to give, and we have no regrets whatsoever,” Harper said last October in his election-night concession speech to supporters. “The disappointment you also feel is my responsibility, and mine alone.”

Since that night, he has kept a low profile, with virtually no public appearances outside of parliamentary votes. He didn’t respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The Liberals won a majority last year with 39.5 of the vote, while Harper’s Conservatives secured 31.9 . Harper won his own electoral district and has stayed on as a member of Parliament since.

He was first elected as a lawmaker in 1993, briefly then leaving politics before returning to seek and win the leadership of the Canadian Alliance party that — frustrated by multi-candidate races that divided the vote and delivered commanding majorities to the Liberal Party — later merged with the Progressive Conservatives under the banner. He became prime minister in 2006, winning his only majority in 2011.

On the world stage, Harper was an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former British Prime Minister David Cameron in advocating for global austerity. As prime minister, he was an avowed supporter of Ukraine and a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Domestically, however, his pledge of balanced budgets and small government eventually ran its course against Trudeau, who was the only major Canadian party to promise deficits in last year’s election campaign. While Harper pushed in his final years as prime minister to successfully reach a surplus in time for the election, Trudeau’s debut budget this year pledged nearly $120 billion in cumulative deficits over six years to drive . Canada’s economy continues to struggle with low and the fallout from a commodities slump that has hurt its oil sector in particular.

Harper plans to stay out of domestic politics, the person said. His firm will focus on many sectors, with the aim of advising companies on operations in the U.S., Asia, Europe and the Middle East, they said. His new endeavor has been approved by the country’s ethics commissioner, the person said.

Harper’s Conservatives, now helmed by interim leader Rona Ambrose, remain Canada’s official opposition party — with the second-highest number of elected lawmakers — and its biggest fundraiser.

One poll released this week found 67 percent of Canadians voting for Trudeau’s Liberals, compared to 36 percent who the Conservatives.

About Josh Wingrove, Washington Post