Jim Flaherty, Canada's former Minister of Finance, died suddenly of a heart attack today. He was 64.
Flaherty's death comes only a month after he announced his resignation as Finance Minister. He had served in that capacity since the Conservatives came to power in 2006. Flaherty had planned to return to the private sector.
Although a high profile member of the Harper government, Flaherty was personally popular with opposition politicians who were devastated by his passing.
Before entering federal politics, Flaherty was involved in Ontario politics winning a seat at Queens Park representing the constituency of Whitby-Oshawa (which is near Toronto) serving in various ministerial portfolios in the Tory governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves including Minister of Finance. Flaherty twice sought the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in 2002 and 2004 but was defeated by Eves and John Tory, respectively. In 2006, he resigned from provincial politics so he could run for the Tories in the federal election. His wife, Christine Elliott, would win his old provincial seat in a by-election. It marked the first time in Canadian history a husband and wife represented both a federal and provincial constituency at the same time.
During his tenure as Finance Minister, Flaherty twice reduced the Goods & Services Tax (GST), reformed income trusts and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, established a Registered Disability Savings Plan and a Tax Free Savings Account. Although Flaherty was compelled to bring about a stimulus package following the financial collapse of 2008, Canada's federal budget is on schedule to be balanced next year.
To quote Ronald Reagan, "Not bad, not bad at all."
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