In today’s hyper-partisan political world, the shocking death of Jim Flaherty on Thursday swept the bile aside.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle were quick to praise the 64-year-old Conservative, who until last month served as this nation’s finance minister.
His reign there will be most notably remembered for his tax cuts, including a drop of a point in the much reviled GST. But surprisingly, he never delivered a budget in the black, although it appears that it’s in sight for next year.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair fought tears as he remembered Flaherty.
“As minister of finance, Mr. Flaherty served his country with dedication and conviction, even as he faced mounting health challenges, Mulcair said. “As both a man and a politician, I will remember him for his pleasant demeanour and strength of character.”
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau agreed.
“Jim was a dedicated parliamentarian with a strong social conscience and fundamentally committed to the ideal of public service. He was a proud Canadian and showed continued devotion and commitment to his country over many years. This is a loss to the entire family in the House of Commons.”
Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and MP Bruce Hyer put out a statement that said “He was a rare partisan, able to extend a mischievous twinkle to a rejoinder in Question Period. He was a dedicated public servant and a genuinely kind man.”
But it was Flaherty’s boss who seemed best able to convey the emotion of the day.
“Today is a very sad day for me, for our government and for all of our country ... Jim will be sorely missed,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
The work of any finance minister is best examined by historians as they can put his decisions into some kind of context.
What we can say with great confidence is that Flaherty was a genuinely good person who was respected by his political opponents.
Prince Albert Daily Herald