Jim Flaherty

Jim Flaherty

April 28, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

Tributes poured in for former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who died suddenly April 10 at the age of 64 only three weeks after he had resigned his cabinet portfolio.

"We join in offering our thoughts and prayers for the loved ones of Jim Flaherty," said Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins in a statement.

"A public servant who gave of his time and talents to serve the country through the noble vocation of elected office, he served our province and country faithfully for many years."

"We give thanks for his tangible efforts to strengthen our community. May he rest in peace," said Collins.

Cardus President Michael Van Pelt described Flaherty as someone who saw "public service as an honourable task and he had the gifts to do it."

Flaherty was a practical man who "developed ideas about how this could be a better country," he said. "That's what he talked about, that's what he lived around. The foundations of that were much more assumed."

A PROUD CATHOLIC

Mark Cameron, who worked on two of Flaherty's provincial leadership campaigns, said Flaherty was proud of his Catholic heritage. "His Catholic identity shaped his thinking about politics and economics."

Flaherty grew up in Lachine, outside of Montreal, and attended Loyola High School, a private Jesuit-run school. He went to Princeton on a hockey scholarship, and became a lawyer before entering Ontario provincial politics. He was one of Canada's longest serving finance ministers.

Cameron, a Catholic, said "I think he was, at his heart, a very good man. He very deeply loved people, and cared particularly about people with disabilities."

DISABLED SON

The father of triplet boys, Flaherty's concern for the disabled sprang from his own experience of having a disabled child, Cameron said. Among his contributions is the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Flaherty saw getting the fiscal house in order as important to ensure resources would be there to better serve people, Cameron said.

Flaherty was open to Catholic and evangelical voices. He met with different groups many times, whether over charitable tax credits or housing programs sponsored by churches, Cameron said.

"He was interested in trying to figure out how faith, economics and public life interrelated."

Cameron said Flaherty was obviously proud of his Irish heritage. "I don't think I ever saw him without a green tie."