Jim Flaherty dead at 64

Jim FlahertyThe Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Former finance minister Jim Flaherty died Thursday. Here is a look at his life:

Dec. 30, 1949: James Michael (Jim) Flaherty is born in Lachine, Que. He goes on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a law degree from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and then becomes a founding partner in the firm, Flaherty Dow Elliott.

1990: He unsuccessfully wades into provincial politics in Ontario, losing in the riding of Durham Centre.

1991: Triplet sons, Quinn, Galen and John, are born to Flaherty and his wife, Christine Elliott.

1995: Flaherty wins a seat in the Ontario legislature as the representative of Whitby-Ajax.

1997: He enters the Mike Harris cabinet as minister of labour, and would go on to serve as attorney general, finance minister, enterprise minister and deputy premier under Harris and his successor, Ernie Eves.

2002: Flaherty fights unsuccessfully to succeed Harris as Ontario Conservative leader, losing to Eves. In his leadership bid, he proposes a tax credit for parents to send their children to private schools and privatizing the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

2006: Flaherty wins the federal riding of 2006 Whitby-Oshawa and becomes the finance minister of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new Conservative minority government.

2006-2008: He 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.

January 2009: Flaherty’s first budget after the global economic crisis contains a $40 billion stimulus package, as Canada plunges into deficit, which he subsequently vowed to erase by 2015.

March 2012: Flaherty uses his budget to abolish the penny, which he said took 1.6 cents to produce.

January 2013: Flaherty says publicly he is taking steroid medication for a skin condition in order to address months of speculation about what appeared to be a new phase of declining health.

July 2013: Flaherty takes sick during a G20 conference in Russia, and misses two days of meetings.

Feb. 11, 2014: Flaherty tables his final budget in a bid to erase the country’s deficit by 2015. He comes close by presenting a budget that carried only a $2.9-billion deficit with a $3-billion contingency fund.

March 18, 2014: Flaherty abruptly resigns as finance minister. Flaherty declares that he is “on the road to a full recovery” and that his decision to leave politics was not related to his health.

April 10, 2014: Flaherty dies suddenly, and in the words of his family “peacefully,” at his Ottawa home.

© The Canadian Press, 2014