Former federal finance minister dies suddenly
OTTAWA – Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong is offering his condolences at the sudden passing Thursday of former finance minister Jim Flaherty.
Flaherty, who retired from politics just a month ago, died at his Ottawa home. It’s believed the former finance minister suffered a heart attack.
“It was an absolute shock,” Armstrong said. “We were getting ready for Question Period when the news came so we immediately suspended the House out of respect.”
Flaherty, 64, resigned from cabinet in mid-April. He had spent more than a year publicly battling health problems. Upon his retirement he indicated that he wanted to go back into the private sector.
Until his retirement he was the only finance minister in the Stephen Harper government.
“He had a record of accomplishment that will be hard to match,” Armstrong said. “He was one of the longest-serving finance ministers and was minister during one of the country’s most challenging economic times.”
Canada, Armstrong said, was the last country to be impacted by the recession and was also the first country to emerge from the recession. He said that was because of Flaherty and the stimulus program that created jobs during the tough economic times.
“The Economic Action Plan saw billions of dollars poured into the economy and once he saw growth he set us on a course to have a balanced budget again,” Armstrong said. “His vision will be hard to replace.”
Nova Scotia’s Finance Minister Diana Whalen added her condolences.
“On behalf of all Nova Scotians I extend my deepest sympathy to Mr. Flaherty’s wife, sons, colleagues and loved ones,” the minister said. “And, I thank Mr. Flaherty for his many contributions to our country over his lifetime, including guiding the federal government’s fiscal policies during a very trying period.”
PC leader and Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie said Flaherty had Atlantic ties in that his mother and father were from New Brunswick.
“I had the honour and privilege of meeting Mr. Flaherty on a number of occasions and was always struck by how warm, generous and funny he was. While Mr. Flaherty held many cabinet positions over his long and illustrious career, he will most likely be remembered for faithfuly serving as the federal minister of finance for the past eight years. He guided our nation through a very difficult financial time with his trademark honesty and forthrightness.”