A Tribute to Jim Flaherty
It is with a heavy heart that I write to commemorate Canada’s former Finance Minister and a dear friend, Jim Flaherty.
I was in the House when news of Jim’s passing reached us. It was a shock to everyone. Upon returning home the next day I was informed that two of my former classmates had also been taken from us. Three friends within five days! I’ve had the opportunity to express condolences to family members and I wish them strength in this difficult time.
I attended the State Funeral for Jim Flaherty at St. James Cathedral in Toronto April 16th. It was a touching ceremony that focused on Jim’s commitment and sacrifice to Canada while celebrating his dedication to our great country.
The contributions from Jim went far beyond our national borders as he was truly one of the most respected Finance Ministers in the world. At the funeral Prime Minister Harper stated that appointing Jim as Finance Minister in 2006 was the best political decision of his career.
The Prime Minister trusted Jim to guide this country through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It was through his discipline that among G-7 countries Canada is universally known to be in the most enviable position. It was heartwarming to hear such recognition from all quarters as political opponents and pundits put aside partisanship to recognize the true brilliance and passion of this great Canadian.
Jim was always mindful of those who were most vulnerable in our society and it showed in his creation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan which allowed money to be set aside for a person with a disability while accruing value tax-free. He was a champion for the disabled.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy in this loss is that the man who had given so much of his life to public service never got the chance to enjoy the next stage of his life. He looked forward to spending much deserved time with his family.
My thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s wife, Christine, and their young sons – John, Galen and Quinn. We lost a great Finance Minister, friend, husband, and father. But as Jim’s son stated in his eulogy, “lay your head back, close your eyes and relax, we can take it from here.”
Our government will continue down Jim’s path of fiscal prudence and do our best to continue with his legacy.