Jim Flaherty’s global colleagues pay respects

During his eight years on as Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty earned a degree of respect – even affection – from his counterparts in the financial world.

News of his death on Thursday came as his former colleagues gathered in Washington D.C. for the International Monetary Fund -World Bank spring meetings and a gathering of G20 finance ministers.

READ MORE: Jim Flaherty passes away at 64

Among those who paid tribute was U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who said Flaherty was “known for his drive and hard work.”

“Jim was instrumental in helping Canada navigate the global financial crisis,” Few said in a statement early Thursday evening.

“[He] was admired and respected by his fellow citizens and leaders throughout the world,” Few added. “He was also devoted advocate for sound fiscal policy and making sure workers had the chance to retire with dignity.”
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Few said his “thoughts and prayers” are with Flaherty’s wife and sons, as well as to the Canadian public.

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His sentiments were echoed by fellow G7 finance minister, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

From Washington, Osborne tweeted the “G7 also shared our sadness and shock at the passing of former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty – A good friend and forthright colleague.”

Finance ministers for the G20 nations attending the meetings took time to honour Flaherty Thursday evening.

READ MORE: Canadian politicians react to Flaherty’s death on Twitter

Australia opened the meeting to allow Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who took over from Flaherty after the latter’s resignation Mar. 18, to deliver a special statement about his predecessor’s sudden death.

WATCH: Finance Minister Joe Oliver remembers his colleague Jim Flaherty

Oliver, in an earlier statement, said Flaherty “was an honourable, dedicated and exceptional man who loved his country.”

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“On the international scene, Jim Flaherty played a pivotal role in the small group of senior decision-makers who quickly and effectively responded to the 2008-09 global financial crisis,” Oliver said. “His consummate skill and foresight during that difficult period allowed Canada’s economy to emerge stronger than ever.”

READ MORE: Partner in crisis, Mark Carney has kind words for Flaherty

Australian Treasurer J.B. Hockey expressed his own sympathies, remembering Flaherty for his “refreshing honesty and good humour.”

Hockey had only worked with Flaherty as a part of the G20 for less than a year, but said he had known the 64-year-old for a number of years prior.

“We all very much regret the fact that Jim had so little time to share with his family after announcing his retirement from public service,” Hockey said. “We share the grief of all Canadians on this very sad occasion.”

Flaherty was also remembered by diplomatic community in Ottawa.

“His leadership and integrity earned him the respect and admiration of Canadians and Americans,” said U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heymand said. “His spirit, undaunted good cheer, and great love of life are an example to all of us.”

British Deputy High Commissioner Corin Robertson called Flaherty “a hugely impressive Finance Minister and a great friend to the UK.”