Jim Flaherty

  • Born: December 30, 1949
  • Died: April 10, 2014
  • Location: Toronto, Canada

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Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty arrives for a G-20 dinner, during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund Thursday, April 18, 2013 in Washington.

Longtime Canadian finance minister dies

ROB GILLIES, The Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — Just three weeks after stepping down, former longtime Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty, a fixture on the world financial stage, has died. He was 64.

Flaherty's family released a statement that said he died Thursday in Ottawa. Mike Harris, Ontario's former premier and a friend, said he suffered a massive heart attack.

Flaherty, who had the job since 2006, was the longest-serving finance minister among the Group of Seven leading industrial economies until he announced he was stepping down March 18 to return to the private sector. He battled a rare skin disease over the last year, but had said his decision to leave politics was not related.

Flaherty was Prime Minister Stephen Harper's only finance minister since Harper took power eight years ago. He is credited with helping get Canada back on track to a balanced budget after pumping stimulus money into the economy following the 2008 financial crisis.

The House of Commons in Ottawa abruptly suspended business as word of his death circulated and the finance ministers of the G-20 paid tribute to Flaherty at the start of their meetings in Washington on Thursday.

Australian Treasury Minister Joe Hockey, the current G-20 chairman, opened the group's meeting at International Monetary Fund headquarters by describing Flaherty as a "'very decent man heartfelt in his determination to deliver to Canada a better quality of life."

"Canada is poorer for his passing and we are all poorer," he said.

His successor, Joe Oliver, said Flaherty delivered 10 budgets "and never wavered in his determination to build a better country. He was a great statesman."

Mark Carney, the Canadian who is the new governor of the Bank of England, said Flaherty played a key role in getting the G-20 off the ground and helping it deal with the 2008 global financial crisis and its aftermath,

"He was a true believer in multilateralism and urged members to pursue the right policies and believed in fixing banks, balancing budgets and adopting sound monetary policies," Carney said.

Harper addressed members of his government in brief comments that were televised across the nation.

"I learned a short while ago that our colleague, my partner and my friend, Jim Flaherty, has passed away suddenly today," said Harper. "This comes as an unexpected and a terrible shock ..."

Opposition New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair choked back tears as he expressed condolences to the family.

"We're very, very sad at the loss of a great Canadian. Jim Flaherty was an extraordinarily dedicated public servant," Mulcair said.

The flag on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa was lowered to half-mast.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement that Flaherty was admired and respected by leaders throughout the world.

"Known for his drive and hard work, Jim was instrumental in helping Canada navigate the global financial crisis. He was also a devoted advocate for sound fiscal policy and making sure workers had the chance to retire with dignity," Lew said.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement that Flaherty was a principled and forthright colleague.

"I speak for the whole international community represented by the IMF membership when I say that his passing is a great loss," she said.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he was devastated. Flaherty, a friend of the Ford family, became choked up last year when he was asked about Ford's struggles with drugs and alcohol. Ford, who acknowledged smoking crack last year in a drunken stupor, vowed to quit alcohol after seeing Flaherty become emotional on television.

Flaherty also became emotional in a February television interview when he was asked about speaking out for what he believed. He said he always spoke his mind to Harper.

"I'm one of the few ministers that has always been difficult. If I don't agree with something I make my views known and he hasn't fired me yet," Flaherty said while fighting back tears in an interview with the Canadian Broadcast Corp.

Flaherty acknowledged last year that he was suffering from a rare skin condition known as bullous pemphigoid, requiring him to take medication that led to weight gain. He also appeared fatigued at some public appearances.

Ottawa police said they responded to a medical call shortly after noon at Flaherty's residence. He is survived by his wife Christine and his triplet sons, John, Galen and Quinn.

Born in Lachine, Quebec, Flaherty went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a law degree from York University's Osgoode Hall Law School.

Flaherty spent almost 20 years in politics, including stints as minister of finance, attorney general and deputy premier at the provincial level in Ontario. In 2006, after two unsuccessful bids to lead the Ontario Conservatives, Flaherty entered federal politics. Harper's Conservative government plans on entering an election next year with a budget surplus, and Harper has praised Flaherty for helping make that happen.

Canada's commodity-rich economy avoided the worst of the crisis and has fared better than other nations. There was no mortgage meltdown or subprime crisis in Canada.

Flaherty took over from former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberals in 2006 and broadly stuck to his predecessor's approach, though Flaherty cut taxes and, when recession struck, pumped stimulus money into the economy. He was also an outspoken critic of European countries for their handling of the debt crisis and urged them to get their debt problems under control.

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Associated Press writers Marty Crutsinger and Harry Dunphy in Washington contributed to this report.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Hi Jim, you are right on many points here wihutot more information about how they will be structured it is really hard to assess the value of PRPPs. I think the major issue is whether the program is mandatory for employees or not! The reason why pensions work is because it is a force savings. People have to pay CPP and they don't even realize the money is gone. Without the PRPP being mandatory there is nothing more here than a group RRSP plan and this will only be one more thing for people to get confused and frustrated over. I guess the only way to avoid that would be to have mandatory education to go with the non-mandatory program. Like I said we need more details!

Posted by Mike - HKkb8k9zux, NM - JOSSU7AOEZ   August 09, 2015

Please bring back Inhale with Steve Ross I used to do it with my mom every night, and he is so far the only yoga instructor that doesn't drive me innsae! I need to do yoga but cant seem to unless I can have fun with it, I would settle for even a DVD

Posted by Ahad - fWvuptog, CT - sbbgxcQBF   February 21, 2015

My sincerest sympathies on your loss. Min Flaherty was a great man, public servant and leader. He was always ready to smile and listen to the masses. I was honored to work with/for him for several years at Finance Canada.

Posted by Lisa Praine - Ottawa - public servant   April 16, 2014

To the Flaherty Family: I've never lived in Mr. Flaherty's riding. I've never written a note to an MP, nor an MPP nor their families. However with the passing of your husband and father, that all changed. I am the father of a 'complicated kid', and am a financial adviser. I applaud Mr. Flaherty for the work he has done, championing the causes of the disabled, and in particular the RDSP. What a tremendous legacy.....best regards to the family.

Posted by BA    April 14, 2014

To the Flaherty Family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all, during this difficult time. We are still in shock, God called
the best to go to the best place HEAVEN....Regards

Posted by G & J Latreille - Nepean, ONT - No,but knew 1 of his sisters   April 14, 2014

My sincerest condolences to the Flaherty family. Mr. Flaherty was a truly admirable man. I had a great respect for him. Again my thoughts are with
the family at this time and also his colleagues in Parliament.

Posted by Linda McEwen RCMP Ret;d - Kanata Ontario - a respected citizen   April 11, 2014

Since the news yesterday and every time that I think about the past of Mr. Flaherty, my tears keep rolling my eyes. Has a new Canadian I always had the most respect and admiration for his work in benefit of all Canadians. He was the reason why I call Canada the land of the consultants to the World.

Be at peace Mr. Flaherty

Felipe Gomes
London ON

Posted by FELIPE GOMES - London - I am part of his Canadian family   April 11, 2014

Thank you ,Mr Flaherty for your service to Canada.
May you rest well.

Posted by S.M. Taylor - Amherst,N.S. - not   April 11, 2014

What a loss for his family and this country. Thank you for all you have done for our country Mr. Flaherty. You guided us through the last years of financial hardship with wisdom and dedication. To his family I offer my deepest sympathy. May God Bless you and keep you strong in these difficult days ahead. Sincerely, Brenda Smith

Posted by Brenda Smith - New Glasgow - Canadian Citizen   April 11, 2014

Jim Flaherty is a great Canadian who did much for this country, especially in guiding us through the recent great recession and keeping our economy from the worst of it. My parents and I offer our deepest sympathies to Jim's family and will keep you all in our prayers. God bless you Jim. I look forward to meeting you in heaven. Jeff Friesen

Posted by Jeff Friesen - Dauphin, Manitoba - Canadian admirer   April 11, 2014

You were an exceptional person. God be with you.

Posted by Al johns - Whitby, OK - Friend and resident of whitby.   April 11, 2014

Candle

God will keep you in His Grace, Jim Flaherty, and He will comfort your family and friends that loved and respected you so dearly.

Posted by Gary McIntyre - Ottawa - admirer   April 11, 2014

He deserves a state funeral commensurate with the greatest of Canadian Statesmen. Nobody could question his integrity and loyalty to family, country and party. The greatest we have and had. His legacy will be enduring.

Posted by Henry Timmins - Mississauga - Friend and admirer   April 11, 2014

Jim, you will be missed. May God give your family strength at this time. Your were a Canadian Insititution. We were fortunated to have met you at the Canada Day celebrations at the UOIT campus and my wife would always come home from the ACVI (Whitby) and said I saw our Finance Minister waiting in line, like any other parent after school. So down to earth....you left your family and the Canadians too soon
You are in a better place

Posted by Ron - Milton - Former Whitby resident   April 11, 2014

Candle

RIP. you are a great man, thank you

Posted by Yue Zhou    April 11, 2014


Family Album

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty arrives for a G-20 dinner, during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund Thursday, April 18, 2013 in Washington.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde talks to Canada's Minister of Finance James Flaherty before the International Monetary and Financial Committee meeting during the World Bank IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, Saturday, April 20, 2013.