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What's Laureen Harper really like? Here are four ways to get to know Mrs. Harper

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Laureen Teskey: Laureen Harper was Laureen Teskey until 2006, when she told the Canadian Press she wished to be known publicly by her husband’s last name. She ran a graphic-arts business before moving from Alberta to the nation’s capital. According to the Prime Minister’s website, she still “fosters her love of photography and art in her spare time.”

Copy photo by Jeff McIntosh

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Mrs. Harper on her motorcycle: On a shelf in the front closet at 24 Sussex sits Mrs. Harper’s black Zeus motorcycle helmet -- that is, when she is not zipping around Ottawa in the warmer months. When asked what kind of bike she rides, Mrs. Harper did not miss a beat: “A Yamaha XT225.”

JONATHAN HAYWARD/CP

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Mrs. Harper the animal lover: Almost 200 Ottawa Humane Society foster kittens have cycled through 24 Sussex since Mrs. Harper moved in seven years ago (the most the Harpers sheltered at one time was 12). She socializes the kittens so that when they are old enough for adoption and are inspected by prospective owners, they purr and exude a loving demeanour. The official residence’s third floor now boasts an “animal room,” where her newest and softest pet, Charlie the chinchilla, has set up home.

Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

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Mrs. Harper on the campaign trail: Election season is a time for photo ops, campaign stops, speeches and hand shaking. For Stephen Harper, it is also a chance to show he is not a wooden man with only policy on the brain. Enter Mrs. Harper, with her beaming smile, folksy nature and quick wit. During the May, 2011, election, she was even seen passing out desserts – and beer – to passengers aboard the campaign plane. Voters also saw her photographed cozying up to her husband on the campaign bus, a picture Mr. Harper tweeted just this past Valentine’s Day.

KEVIN FRAYER/CP

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