News

Emotional Rob Ford on Jim Flaherty

By Don Peat, City Hall Bureau Chief

TORONTO - 

Mayor Rob Ford was on the verge of tears as he paid tribute to Jim Flaherty Thursday.

Flaherty was a longtime Ford family friend who served with the mayor’s father, Doug Ford Sr., at Queen’s Park.

“In this time of great sadness, I wish to offer my deepest condolences to Jim’s wife Christine and to his sons Galen, John and Quinn,” Ford said at City Hall.

“Jim will be remembered as a relentless fighter and a champion for the people. He will deeply be missed by everyone who had the good fortune of knowing him.”

The former finance minister endorsed Ford in the last election.

“I can never thank him enough for his friendship and his loyalty through the years,” Ford said.

“He was an honourable man, husband, father and politician who dedicated his life to his family and to the Canadian public service.”

Just a few weeks ago, Ford wished Flaherty well in his retirement.

On Thursday, Ford again lauded Flaherty’s record as finance minster.

“Jim had a stabilizing influence on the Canadian position in the international financial community,” Ford said at the time.

“He kept the country on track in the most difficult of financial times. Canada would not be where it is today without the efforts of Jim Flaherty.”

Ford appeared emotional as he finished the statement by saying goodbye to Flaherty.

“It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that I say goodbye to a very special friend,” he said.

“We love you, Jim. We’ll miss you.”

Mayoral candidate and former MP Olivia Chow was shocked to hear about Flaherty’s death during a press conference Thursday.

“Serving the public is his passion. That’s a great loss,” Chow said.

She recalled Flaherty’s great sense of humour and the “twinkle in his eye.”

“Every time he gets a tough question in the House of Commons, he’ll just get up and answer it,” she said.

“His wife is also a politician so in some ways I connect, I understand how difficult it is.”

Mayoral candidate John Tory - who served with Flaherty at Queen’s Park - said he was “shattered” by the news of Flaherty’s death.

“Jim was thoughtful, intelligent, and an incredibly sensitive man who cared deeply about other people - especially those with special needs and those who were struggling. He also knew how to have fun,” Tory stated.

“My heartfelt condolences to his wife Christine, a former colleague of mine in the Legislature, and to their three fine sons who have always done their mom and dad proud.

“This is a huge loss for the Flaherty and Elliott family and for all Canadians.”

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly issued a statement paying tribute to Flaherty.

“Jim was a true political leader who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of all Canadians,” Kelly stated. “His dedication as a public figure was truly remarkable and will be fondly remembered.

“I join with the residents of Toronto to remember the incredible life of Jim Flaherty.”


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