Opinion

Editorial — Jim Flaherty leaves tough shoes to fill

The resignation of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on Tuesday is a pivotal moment for the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Flaherty has been the only finance minister  Harper has had, since he became prime minister in January, 2006. A former Ontario finance minister, he has developed a reputation for being careful with taxpayers’ dollars, seeking ways to save them money (a reduction in the GST and Tax Free Savings Accounts being two examples) and paying down the debt as soon as possible. In many ways, he resembles Paul Martin, who was one of Canada’s most successful finance ministers and did a great deal to keep the government of Jean Chretien in power.

Unlike Martin, Flaherty is moving beyond federal politics. Martin coveted Chretien’s job and the struggle between them did a great deal of damage to the government and the Liberal Party.

Harper does not have a lot of ministers or backbenchers who could replace Flaherty. He has chosen Joe Oliver, the 73-year-old natural resources minister, to take over. Clearly, his tenure will not be as long as Flaherty’s.

Oliver does have a lot of experience in the financial industry, and is a competent minister. He should be able to take the government into the October, 2015 election.

He does not have the experience of overseeing the massive spending of a large government body.

However, he can use the tools Flaherty has handed over, and present a balanced budget in the next fiscal year. That will be a plus for a government going into the election.

Economic competence is one of the Conservative government’s core strengths, and is vital for a finance minister.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Clark on climate, clawbacks, credit cards
 
COLUMN: Some advice to Kinder Morgan from the mushy middle
 
Second Langley farm hit by avian flu
Initial assessment finds mother unfit to stand trial: defence
 
Surrey murder victim identifed as Jaylen Sandhu, 17
 
Large tree taken down in 7 hours
B.C.-only wines to come to some grocery stores
 
COLUMN: Ideas for a non-toy Christmas
 
COLUMN: Growth does not come cheaply

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.