BOSTON—In the 2004 race to lead to the new Conservative Party, then-candidate Stephen Harper proudly concluded his speeches with “God bless Canada.” Later as opposition leader and then as prime minister in a minority Parliament, Harper, an evangelical Christian, continued to close his public addresses with those three words—until the weeks leading up to last year’s federal election campaign when polls suggested the Conservative Party was on its way to forming its first majority government in nearly a generation. Since then, the phrase has virtually disappeared from Prime Minister Harper’s public vocabulary. But why?
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