Former finance minister Jim Flaherty passes away "peacefully" in Ottawa

The former finance minister had distanced himself from federal politics only a month earlier, saying he would return to the private sector. 

Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, 64, has died in Ottawa, one month after resigning from cabinet. 

The House of Commons been suspended for the day. 

Flaherty had had been battling a rare skin condition known as bullous pemphigoid, but had stressed that health was not a reason for his stepping away from politics. He had stayed on as the MP for Whitby-Oshawa, but said he was not planning to seek re-election. He had said that he planned to return to the private sector.

MPs were shaking hands across the floor today to express condolences over news of the former minister's death. Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair offered his condolences to Flaherty's wife and children.

"We want to express our profound sadness on the departure of our friend Jim Flaherty," Mulcair said. 
"All of his colleagues in the House of Commons share in that loss - he was a good person. I've had a chance to know him before entering federal politics, he was a strong, tough character, always devoted to his wife Christine Elliot and his three sons."

Conservative ministers Jason Kenney and Peter MacKay appeared to be distraught by the news, according to Global News. 

The Conservative Party caucus was quiet and solemn as they packed into the Reading Room. 

CBC reported that he may have died of a heart attack. 

Flaherty's family released the following statement today: 

"Christine Elliott and her triplet sons, John, Galen and Quinn would like to make Canadians aware that her beloved husband and father passed away peacefully today in Ottawa.
We appreciate that he was so well supported in his public life by Canadians from coast to coast to coast and by his international colleagues.
The family asks for privacy at this time."

Flaherty served as finance minister for eight years before being replaced by former natural resources minister Joe Oliver. He was credited widely for having steered Canada out of the financial crisis in 2008, but was also came under fire after the Auditor General issued a report in 2012 saying the federal government had $3.1 billion in funding that went unaccounted.  

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