TORONTO (NEWS1130) – Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been eulogized at his state funeral as a man who walked on the world stage “like a giant.”
A gallery of luminaries from all sides of the political spectrum gathered at a Toronto cathedral today to remember Flaherty, who died suddenly last week at age 64.
Prime Minister Harper called it a sad time in the life of our country as he began the proceedings with an upbeat personal tribute to his longtime political confidante.
Harper kept his composure throughout most of what turned out to be a cheerful, light-hearted look back on the time he and Flaherty shared together on Parliament Hill.
He joked that they didn’t always agree — but said he sometimes let Flaherty have his way even if he was wrong because, in his words, “I just got so damn tired of arguing with him.”
As Harper’s eulogy drew to a close, he had to compose himself as he described the day he accepted Flaherty’s resignation and told him he thought he’d been the best finance minister in the world, if not the best in Canadian history.
Many were wiping tears from their eyes as two of Jim Flaherty’s triplet sons later addressed mourners.
Quinn Flaherty said his father taught his sons many things — first that self-deprecating humour, especially height jokes, is a family thing and that sacrificing your time for others is an honour.
Flaherty’s widow, Christine Elliott, praised her husband as driven, intense, a perfectionist and the most intelligent man she ever met.
At the end of the service, an RCMP honour guard folded the Canadian flag draping Flaherty’s casket and handed it to Harper, who then presented it to the family.