Premiers, Ministers, Businesspeople on Jim Flaherty

The following are comments from Canadian business leaders on the death of Jim Flaherty, former Canadian finance minister, who died today at age 64.

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“I am shocked and very saddened to learn that Jim Flaherty passed away,” Joe Oliver, who replaced Flaherty as finance minister last month, said in a tweet. “He was an honorable, dedicated and exceptional man who loved Canada.”

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“I’m just really, really sad,” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in an interview in Washington, where Flaherty was a fixture at G-20 and IMF meetings. “I had no idea it was that bad. We had a chat in Sydney, and a laugh. I would never have imagined he wouldn’t be with us. He was a friend.”

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“I last talked to him about two weeks ago,” former Quebec Premier Jean Charest said on ICI RDI television. “I had called him to discuss his plans for the future. Mr. Flaherty was being sought after by many law firms. I work for McCarthy Tetreault, and we were quite interested in working with him. So we were supposed to see him again. He seemed to be in very good shape when I talked to him then, so it’s even more surprising to hear that he passed away so suddenly.

‘‘He leaves an exceptional legacy. He introduced 10 budgets. He was an extremely competent finance minister.’’

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‘‘Jim was deeply respected -- a statesman who navigated the global stage and represented Canada with great distinction,’’ Bank of Montreal Chief Executive Officer Bill Downe said in an e-mailed statement. ‘‘Most importantly, in everything he did, he did it for the people.’’

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‘‘He struck to his guns after the financial crisis to whittle down the deficit,’’ James Dutkiewicz, head of fixed-income at Sentry Investments Inc. which oversees C$14 billion, said by phone from Toronto."He was a man of conviction. Even his dispute with the income splitting -- Oshawa was a blue-collar town or commuter town -- was a nod towards everyday people doing everyday things and give them a bit of a break. It spoke to his fairness.”

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“Today in the House as the news spread of Mr. Flaherty’s passing, there was just an incredible sense of common humanity and respect for an individual who gave his all in the service of his country,” Ralph Goodale, former Canadian minister, told reporters in Ottawa. “There was an outpouring I think of genuine affection and common unity. He always had that impish, almost leprechaun style of his Irish heritage.”

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“I had a chance to know him before being in federal politics,” Thomas Mulcair, leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, said inside the Parliament buildings in Ottawa. “He’s a strong, tough character, very devoted to Christine Elliott his wife and his three sons. ... We share in their loss.”

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“He was just instrumental in helping to build and sustain one of the world’s best economies for a long time,” Chuck Jeannes, CEO of Goldcorp Inc., the world’s second-largest gold producer by market value, said to reporters in Toronto. “As an American and watching for the last 10 years what’s gone on in Canada I was just terribly impressed with Minister Flaherty and the success that he had in managing through the financial crisis and before and after. I’m very, very sorry.”

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“This is a terrible loss for our country, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said in a statement. ‘‘Jim was a great leader and Canadian. He served with distinction in both provincial and federal politics, and made a difference in both. Under his watch, Canada returned to stability and balanced budgets.’’

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‘‘I know I speak for the country’s investment industry when I pay tribute to his extraordinary contributions to the health and well-being of our capital markets, economy, and the lives of individual Canadians,’’ Investment Industry Association of Canada CEO Ian Russell said in an e-mailed statement.

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‘‘Mr. Flaherty was a rigorous man, a devotee of budget discipline,’’ said Nicolas Marceau, outgoing Quebec finance minister, speaking to reporters in Quebec City. ‘‘He was a man of conviction. As you know, we had our differences but we have to salute the kind of man that Mr. Flaherty was. His budget discipline allowed Canada to do well in the economic storm that we lived through. In private he was a warm man. We had a good relationship. The securities regulator caused a number of differences, but he remained a man for whom I had a lot of respect.’’

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‘‘He literally worked up to his dying day for the people of Canada,’’ Tom Caldwell, CEO of Caldwell Securities Ltd, said in an interview. ‘‘His legacy is that Canada worked its way through the greatest crisis period, stood tall and was a star performer in the world. He helped establish Canada as the Switzerland of the north.’’

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‘‘It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that I say goodbye to a very special friend,’’ Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said at City Hall today. ‘‘I love you Jim. I’ll miss you.’’

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‘‘He was a feisty, articulate spirit in this place,’’ Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters in Toronto. ‘‘Canada has lost a great Canadian.’’

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‘‘I am overwhelmed with sadness at the passing of my dear friend and colleague, Jim Flaherty,’’ Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, said in a Facebook posting. ‘‘My prayers are with his wife, Christine, and their family. He will be remembered for generations as a man who served his country with incredible integrity and honor. He was the greatest mentor I ever had in politics.’’

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