State funeral will be held for Jim Flaherty Wednesday in Toronto
OTTAWA – A state funeral will be held for Jim Flaherty on April 16 at 3 p.m. at St. James cathedral in Toronto, says the Prime Minister’s Office.
Visitation will take place at the Abilities Centre at 55 Gordon Street in Whitby, Ont., on Tuesday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The flag was flying at half mast over Parliament Hill Friday in honour of the former Conservative finance minister.
Flaherty’s sudden death Thursday at age 64 came as a shock in the nation’s capital, where parliamentary business was abruptly put on hold.
The cause of death has not been released but, reports suggest Flaherty died of a heart attack.
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The last federal politician to receive a state funeral was former NDP leader Jack Layton, who died of cancer in August 2011.
Such an honour is normally reserved for current and former governors general, prime ministers and sitting members of cabinet — although a state funeral may be offered to any eminent Canadian at the discretion of the prime minister.
A government source confirmed to Global News that MP Kellie Leitch administered CPR on Flaherty before paramedics arrived.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the news came as an “unexpected and a terrible shock to Jim’s family, to our caucus and to Laureen and me.”
“I learned a short while ago that our colleague, my partner and my friend, Jim Flaherty, has passed away suddenly today,” said Harper. “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I offer my family’s condolences and I know the condolences of the entire Parliament and government of Canada.”
Flaherty, a three-term Ontario MP for Whitby-Oshawa, resigned from cabinet March 18, and said he would be returning to the private sector.
Harper’s only finance minister since the Conservatives took office in 2006, the long-time politician said he was leaving because it was the right time for him and his family.
In a statement, Flaherty said his decision to leave had nothing to do with his health. He has been battling a rare skin condition, which he revealed publicly in January 2013.
“I am happy to report that I am on the road to a full recovery and the decision to leave politics was not related in any way to my health,” Flaherty said. “This decision was made because it is the right one for me and my family at this time.”
Flaherty is survived by his wife Christine and three sons.
–With files from The Canadian Press
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