Jim Flaherty dead at 64: Political career highlights

ABOVE: Jim Flaherty sworn in as federal finance minister in 2006

TORONTO – Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has died.

The 64-year-old suffered from a rare skin disease, called bullous pemphigoid. The skin disorder can produce lesions on parts of the body and requires strong steroid treatment.

Last January, Flaherty addressed his health concerns to the public.

READ MORE: Jim Flaherty passes away at 64

“Most people are quite cautious about what they say, but a few people have said to me, ‘Do you have cancer? … What’s going on? Are you going to die?’ That kind of thing,” he said.

“And, obviously, I am not. I mean, I will die eventually, but not over a dermatological issue.”

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Flaherty has three children with his wife Christine Elliot who is also a lawyer and politician.

We take a brief look at some career highlights from Flaherty.

  • Before entering politics, Flaherty practiced law for 20 years. He earned a law degree from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Flaherty wins a seat in the Ontario legislature as the representative of Whitby-Ajax in 1995
  • In 2001, Flaherty became the new Ontario finance minister after Ernie Eves resigned from the post
  • Flaherty is one of Canada’s longest-serving finance ministers. He was the only finance minister the Harper Conservatives have had since they came to power eight years ago.
  • In 2006, Flaherty won the riding of Whitby-Oshawa in an election that gave the Conservative government its first minority government win
  • From 2006 to 2008, Flaherty institutes a series of tax cuts, including shaving two percentage points off the GST to fulfil a Conservative campaign promise, as well as a Registered Disability Savings Plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families, and the Tax-Free Savings Account, which allows people to earn tax-free investment income.
  • Flaherty managed the country’s economy through one of its worst economic crises in 2008-2009, running up large deficits but leaving the books virtually balanced after his Feb. 11 budget.
  • In 2012, Flaherty uses his budget to abolish the penny, which he said took 1.6 cents to produce
  • On February 11, 2014, Flaherty tables his final budget in a bid to erase the country’s deficit by 2015
  • On March 18, Flaherty revealed he was resigning as Finance Minister. He said his decision to leave politics was not related. Joe Oliver was named as a replacement.