Jim Flaherty, Canada's former finance minister of eight years, was remembered on Thursday in the Nova Scotia legislature with a moment of silence as politicians from all stripes shared their condolences.
Flaherty, who resigned last month as federal finance minister, died of an apparent heart attack Thursday at age 64. He leaves behind his wife, Ontario MPP Christine Elliott and three triplet sons, John, Galen and Quinn.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said Flaherty continued to perform his public service in a way that was "classy and forthright" despite his health issues.
"He just excited public life," McNeil told reporters outside the legislature. "All of a sudden we hear this very sad news and we all thought he'd be entering into his retirement years."
Despite political differences, McNeil said Flaherty ushered federal finances through challenging times.
"Anytime someone is able to take on a portfolio the size of the national Finance Department, to do it in such an eloquent way, I think we all need to admire him."
Others remembered Flaherty for his commitment to public service, his playful sense of humour and his devotion to his family.
"This is a time to remember that political leaders are also people," said Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie. "Mr. Flaherty was a warm and friendly and generous person, a father and husband who put many parts of his life ahead of his job."
Flaherty served for many years in Ontario's legislature before moving to the House of Commons in Ottawa. The Conservative MP, who had battled health problems, had stepped down from cabinet less than a month ago citing a plan to return to the private sector.
"I know Canadians will remember Mr. Flaherty for his public work as a long-time finance minister who helped guide our country through a very difficult economic time, a minister who introduced important initiatives like the tax-free savings account that so many thousands of Canadian families take advantage of today," said Baillie.
Nova Scotians send condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Jim Flaherty. http://t.co/CjvJ1ggj3B— Stephen McNeil (@StephenMcNeil) April 10, 2014
On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to express sincere condolences to Mr. Flaherty’s family and many loved ones http://t.co/TmEGFp6jtL— Jamie Baillie (@JamieBaillie) April 10, 2014
Jim Flaherty was fierce, but fair. A happy warrior, loved the give and take, and a big smile after. Sad day.— Office of the Mayor (@MikeSavageHRM) April 10, 2014
My dear friend Jim Flaherty was a great man and a great Canadian. My heartfelt condolences to Christine, John, Galen & Quinn.— Peter MacKay (@MinPeterMacKay) April 10, 2014
My heart goes out to the family of Jim Flaherty, & all my Conservative colleagues. Know there is love & support around you.— Megan Leslie, MP (@MeganLeslieMP) April 10, 2014
Jim Flaherty had a marvelous, mischievous and self-deprecating sense of humour. My condolences to his family, friends & colleagues. R.I.P.— Geoff Regan (@geoffregan) April 10, 2014
Sad to learn of Jim Flaherty's passing. Jim devoted his life to public service. My deepest sympathies extended to Christine and their boys.— Scott Brison (@scottbrison) April 10, 2014
Shocking news. My wife Paula and I send our deepest condolences to Jim Flaherty's family, friends,and colleagues.— Robert Chisholm (@RobertNDP) April 10, 2014
My sympathies to Jim Flaherty's family and colleagues at this difficult time.— Scott Armstrong (@Armstrong_MP) April 10, 2014
Very saddened to hear of the passing of my friend and former colleague, the Honourable Jim Flaherty. It was an... http://t.co/SbVDAB5cnp— Gerald Keddy (@GeraldKeddy) April 10, 2014