N.B. remembers Jim Flaherty as a friend

Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe MP Robert Goguen says he is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Jim Flaherty.

Canada's former finance minister is being remembered as a great statesman and enthusiastic leader

Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is being remembered fondly by many in New Brunswick. (CBC)
​Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe MP Robert Goguen says he is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Jim Flaherty.

The former finance minister died on Thursday at the age of 64, after stepping down just weeks ago.

In a statement, Goguen said it was a sad day for the country, and for the Conservative Party.

"He is undoubtedly regarded as one of the top finance ministers in Canada’s history and worldwide." Goguen said.

"He will truly be missed as a good man, a great statesman and an accomplished politician with a long legacy of public service."

Chisholm Pothier spent many years in New Brunswick as a journalist before moving to Ottawa, and becoming Flaherty's director of communications.

He says news of Flaherty's death was "so sad and shocking."
Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe MP Robert Goguen says he will remember Jim Flaherty as an accomplished politician with a long legacy of public service. (CBC)

"He's just given 20 years of his life to public service, his three sons, his wife, you know, he'd come back to them after twenty years and three weeks later he was gone and it just seems like some kind of a cruel joke."    

Pothier says Flaherty was a fun person to work with and had a great sense of humour and enthusiasm for life.

"He's a hard worker for one thing but he was also creative and he was smart." 

Flaherty had strong roots in N.B.

Pothier says with a father who grew up in Loggieville and a mother hailing from Campbellton, Flaherty had a soft spot for the province and found it hard to say no to requests from New Brunswick.

"He was the honorary chair of the [Miramichi] Irish Festival a couple of years ago at [MP] Tilly O'Neill Gordon's request and he went up there with his family and he had a great time and met long-lost cousins," Pothier said. 

Flaherty's ancestors, who left Ireland during the potato famine, landed at Partridge Island in Saint John's inner harbour which received many immigrants in the 1840s.

"There was a little bit of money in this year's budget for Partridge Island and I can tell you that money would not have been there were it not for Mr. Flaherty's personal interest in that and spending some political capital to get that project moving."

Premier David Alward had the pleasure of welcoming Flaherty to New Brunswick on several occasions.

In a statement he said, "Jim was a true nation-builder whose legacy is a stronger Canada."
Premier David Alward expressed his sympathies to Jim Flaherty's family and friends, calling his an "extraordinary life of service to Canadians." (CBC)

"I shared Jim's belief that the story of Canada is a story of partnerships; of working together to build a vision that binds us together across our physical geography and cultural differences."

Pothier says Flaherty is the kind of parliamentarian that you don't see much anymore, and he was admired by his fellow MPs.

"He was the kind of person that across the aisle, he liked his colleagues," Pothier said.

"I think there was so much affection for him for that because they knew he was a fella that enjoyed the cut and thrust of politics but realized they were all colleagues and treated his opponents with respect."