Whether you liked his politics or not, Stephen Harper was a man of integrity who understood Alberta and the West, says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Nenshi paid tribute to the former prime minister Wednesday after CBC News confirmed that Harper will resign his seat as the MP for Calgary Heritage before the House of Commons session resumes this fall.

"His decade in power changed this country in immeasurable ways and you know whether you agreed or disagreed with his politics, Mr. Harper is a man of enormous integrity who has dedicated his entire life to public service and continues to do so," Nenshi said.

Harper has been sitting on the opposition side of the house since the Liberals defeated Harper's Conservatives in the October election.

"I wish him the very best of luck," Nenshi said.

"I understand he's thinking of offers in the private sector which will be a switch for someone who's dedicated his whole life to public service. But really, he's had an enormous impact and we're very proud as Calgarians that we had a prime minister for a decade who hailed from this city."

High demand for Harper's expertise, says former staffer

Harper's former chief of staff, Tom Flanagan, expects Harper's expertise will be in demand, both on corporate boards and if he decides to set up his own foundation to work on international issues.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see him try and carry on that work if there are donors who want to fund him to do that," Flanagan said.

"He had survived for almost ten years [as prime minister] which made him kind of an elder statesmen, so I think he was quite respected in those forums," Flanagan said.

Flanagan says he expects Harper's biggest political legacy will be having held the line on government expenditures.

With files from Colin Hall and Scott Dippel