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Former finance minister Jim Flaherty to get state funeral next week

Image Credit: Twitter: @jamesmoore_org
April 11, 2014 - 11:59 AM

OTTAWA - The Prime Minister's Office says a state funeral will be held Wednesday in Toronto for former finance minister Jim Flaherty.

Flaherty died suddenly Thursday, reportedly of a massive heart attack.

The 64-year-old was only a month removed from stepping down as finance minister, a portfolio he had held since the Conservatives came to power in early 2006.

A book of condolences has been made available to the public between today and Monday in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill.

The last federal politician to receive a state funeral was former NDP leader Jack Layton, who died of cancer in August 2011.

Such an honour is normally reserved for current and former governors general, prime ministers and sitting members of cabinet — although a state funeral may be offered to any eminent Canadian at the discretion of the prime minister.



OTTAWA - Jim Flaherty's fleeting three-week retirement featured treasured dinners with family, friends and plans for a summer golf trip to Ireland with some of his closest buddies.

The former finance minister's sudden and shocking death reverberated on Parliament Hill on Friday as politicians paid poignant tribute in the House of Commons.

The dominion carillonneur played Irish melodies from the Peace Tower at noon, shortly after MPs remembered Flaherty for his dedication to public service and his good-natured sense of humour. Many of them wore green ties in honour of the longtime parliamentarian.

Details also emerged about Flaherty's final days and hours.

A government source says Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, a medical doctor, administered CPR to the 64-year-old Flaherty before paramedics arrived at his condo in Ottawa's Byward Market area on Thursday.

Leitch and Flaherty lived in the same building, and had dined together on the eve of his death.

The source says Leitch went to his condo the next day in a frantic attempt to save her mentor. Leitch declined to comment on her heroics when reporters asked her about it outside the House, citing patient-physician confidentiality.

An emotional Leitch delivered her party's tribute to its longtime finance minister in the House of Commons. She said she would miss Flaherty forever.

There was no immediate word on where or when the funeral would be held.



The sudden death of former finance minister Jim Flaherty brought forth tributes from across Canada and from across the political spectrum. Here are some excerpts from editorials and commentary in Canadian media on the death of the former finance minister:

Halifax Chronicle Herald, April 10, 2014

Editorial: Flaherty was a stalwart minister

Jim Flaherty was a good man in a crisis. Canadians grew to learn that over his eight years as their federal finance minister. First, as he deftly steered the country through the double maelstrom of the 2007 world credit crunch and the 2008 great recession. Second, as he struggled with his own health problems in the last 18 months of his tenure. He soldiered on with a heavy international workload of confidence-and-recovery-building measures as well as the slogging job back home of bringing the budget back to balance, all the while dealing with the pain and the medication impacts of a severe skin disease he had contracted. Hard work and intelligence earned Mr. Flaherty a well-deserved reputation at home and abroad as a respected and capable minister, a stalwart figure in the Harper government.


Montreal Gazette, April 10, 2014

Editorial: Flaherty appreciated the value of public service

Flaherty was an exemplary leader in the federal cabinet; indeed, in many ways he represented the sunnier nature of the Harper government. He was, in the final analysis, the only person in the cabinet who could offer an authoritative challenge to Harper on issues of finance - and get his way on those issues He had strong views, and wasn't afraid to make those known publicly, as he did on the issue of income-splitting. Like all elected officials, he was definitely a partisan, but those who worked with him, even on the opposition benches, came to recognize very quickly that he was not mean-spirited. One could disagree with him; but he was never disagreeable.Flaherty was a good man, a good father, a good husband and a good public servant. He took public service very seriously. He was the personification of the motto of all-boys Loyola High: 'Men for Others.'


National Post, April 10, 2014.

Full Comment by John Ivison: The respect paid to Jim Flaherty across party lines was not fake

Kellie Leitch, the labour minister, was inconsolable as she gathered with her colleagues to listen to the prime minister eulogize Jim Flaherty, who died suddenly Thursday. As she explained later, Mr. Flaherty, 64, encouraged her to get into politics and had been her mentor. "He was my champion. Canada has lost a giant," she said. Mr. Flaherty would have laughed at that. The former finance minister started every speech with the same joke: "I'm already short, so I'll be brief…." But he would have been touched by the outpouring of genuine grief from those who loved and respected him on all sides of the House. "It's like losing a father," said Regan Watts, who was on Mr. Flaherty's staff for years. The former finance minister commanded, and received, loyalty, which he was conscientious to repay.


Maclean's, April 10, 2014.

Political Editor Paul Wells remembers Jim Flaherty:`Each of us should contemplate Jim Flaherty's example'

It will often be said over the next few days that they don't make politicians like Jim Flaherty any more, but come on: when did they ever? In 2002 Mike Harris stepped down as leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservative party and opened his succession to an array of singularly bloodless potential successors: Ernie Eves, Elizabeth Witmer, Chris Stockwell. Tony Clement for fun. And Jim Flaherty, a smirky leprechaun like an Irish cop from central casting. He wanted to jail the homeless. He sent a Queen's freshman dressed as a waffle to bedevil Eves on the campaign trail. He read his campaign speeches from Teleprompters, exotic behaviour in those simple times. Covering him, I thought Christmas for pundits must have come early.


Toronto Star, April 10, 2014

Editorial: Jim Flaherty: Cheerful Tory warrior with a heart

During his time in Ottawa as Harper's right-hand man and the MP for Whitby-Oshawa, Flaherty steered the Canadian economy through the Great Recession of 2008-2009 with a steady hand. Slow as he was to acknowledge the growing storm clouds and ideologically averse as he was to deficit spending, Flaherty proved to be a consummate pragmatist, eventually pouring $47 billion into stimulus to avert another Great Depression. As the Star noted when he stepped down, that will be remembered as his biggest and best legacy. It preserved the core economic strength that Liberals Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin had worked hard to generate. On his watch Canada weathered the storm better than most countries. And he will be remembered as well for introducing a savings plan to help people with disabilities and their families. Canadians recognized and respected him for the workhorse he was, stubbornly battling a debilitating disease even as he hacked away at the federal deficit to generate the surplus that may allow Harper and the party to dole out tax breaks in the next federal election.


News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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