- Jim Flaherty
name = James Michael Flaherty
parliament = Canadian
term_start = 2006 federal election
birth_date = birth date and age|1949|12|30
birth_place = Lachine,
party = Conservative
portfolio = Minister of Finance
residence = Whitby,
From 1995 until 2005 he was the
Member of Provincial Parliamentfor Whitby—Ajax, representing the Progressive Conservative Party. He was previously a senior cabinet minister in the government of Mike Harris, and has sought the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives on two occasions.
Flaherty won the riding of
Whitby—Oshawain the federal election held January 23, 2006as a member of the Conservative Party of Canadabeating Liberal incumbent Judi Longfieldby nearly 4000 votes. Flaherty's wife Christine Elliottis currently representing Whitby-Oshawa in the Ontario Legislature.
A father of triplets, Flaherty holds a
Bachelor of Artsdegree from Princeton University, as well as a Bachelor of Lawsdegree from Osgoode Hall Law Schoolof York University. He practised law before entering political life, and became a senior partner at the firm [http://www.fdemlaw.com/index.html|"Flaherty Dow Elliott"] , a firm specializing in motor vehicle accident and personal injury litigation.
He first ran for the
Ontario legislaturein the provincial election of 1990, finishing third against New Democrat Drummond Whiteand Liberal Allan Furlongin the riding of Durham Centre. He ran again in the 1995 election, defeating Furlong and White during a significant regional shift in favour of his party.
He was named Minister of Labour in the Cabinet of Premier
Mike Harrison October 10, 1997, and kept this position until after the 1999 election. He also served as interim Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services from April 27to July 27, 1998, when Minister Bob Runcimantemporarily resigned from active duty after revealing privileged information in the legislature.
Flaherty was easily re-elected in the 1999 election in the redistributed riding of Whitby--Ajax, and was named Attorney General with responsibility for Native Affairs on
June 17, 1999. On February 8, 2001, he was promoted to Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier. It was during this period that Flaherty became identified as one of the most right-wing figures in the Harris administration. He was a key promoter of tax credits for parents sending their children to private and denominational schools, which the Tories had campaigned against in 1999. Minister of Education Janet Eckerdid not support this policy change, and there are reports that she considered leaving cabinet after its announcement.
2002 Ontario PC leadership Bid
Flaherty ran to succeed Harris in the 2002 PC leadership election, but lost to frontrunner
Ernie Eves, his predecessor as Finance Minister. Flaherty's campaign featured attacks on Eves, calling him a "serial waffler" and a "pale, pink imitation of Dalton McGuinty."
Flaherty's leadership campaign focused on "law and order" themes, and one of his proposals was to make
homelessnessillegal. Flaherty's plan was to have special constables encourage homeless persons to seek out shelters or hospitals. He argued that his policy would save the lives of homeless persons; leadership rival Elizabeth Witmerand other critics described it as callous, and ineffective against the root causes of homelessness. [cite web
title=Send Ontario's Homeless to Jail
Flaherty also promised to implement further
tax cuts, carry through with plans to create a tax credit for parents sending their children to private school, and privatizing the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Flaherty also emerged as a social conservativein this campaign, distinguished by his vocal stance against abortion, and his association with pro-lifegroups.
April 15, 2002, Eves appointed him to the less-prominent position of Minister of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation. He retained this position until the Tories were defeated in the provincial election of 2003. Flaherty himself was re-elected, though by a sharply reduced margin.
Opposition and 2004 Ontario PC Leadership Bid
Following the defeat of the Conservatives, Eves announced that he would resign as leader in 2004. Flaherty declared himself a candidate to succeed him, but was defeated by
John Toryby a margin of 54% to 46% on the second ballot of the PC leadership election held on September 18, 2004. His supporters included former cabinet ministers John Baird, Tim Hudakand Norm Sterling.
Flaherty's 2004 leadership campaign was similar to that of 2002. He again emphasized right-wing themes, including further tax cuts and greater privatization. He also promised to create EXCEL scholarships, wherein students attaining high grades in high school would have half their university tuition paid by the government.
Until 2005, Flaherty served as finance critic in John Tory's shadow cabinet.
February 4 2006, the " Toronto Star" reported that Flaherty still owed as much as $64,000 to the PC Party of Ontario from his 2004 leadership campaign. [http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1139007014157]
choose or be forced to step down.
In December 2005, the minority Liberal government collapsed, and the 2006 general election was called. Flaherty resigned his seat in the Ontario legislature to run for the
Conservative Party of Canadain the riding of Whitby—Oshawa, unseating incumbent Judi Longfield.
Christine Elliott, won Flaherty's former provincial seat in a by-election, defeating Longfield who was running as the provincial Liberal candidate. This marked the first time in Canadian history that a husband and wife have simultaneously represented the same electoral district at two different levels of government.
Appointment to Cabinet
On February 6, 2006, Flaherty became Minister of Finance in Stephen Harper's newly elected Conservative cabinet. [ [http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=79e62b28-720f-461d-8820-da827d78406f 'Western Tories may miss out on Cabinet posts'] , "
National Post", January 16, 2006]
October 31, 2006 Income trust announcement
Flaherty has become a central figure in the debate surrounding the new proposed rules for taxation of Canadian income trusts. The Finance Minister's October 31, 2006 announcement to changes in rules to tax
Income Trusts levelled the playing field between forms of business such that businesses operating as income trusts no longer enjoyed a tax advantage over businesses operating as corporations. The announcement was accompanied by a further planned reduction in the corporate rate so that the two moves together were not expected to generate additional revenue for the government.
There had been an increasing number of corporations converting to income trusts which would result in them paying lowered taxes; Flaherty argued that income trusts would cost the government hundreds of millions in lost revenue and shift the burden onto ordinary people. [ cite news | author = Global National TV | title = Exclusive: Flaherty received death threats | publisher = Global National TV | url = http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=539d04fe-471d-4cfa-9fc6-af81edc7e085 | date =
February 1 2007] The [http://www.caiti.info/ Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors] have argued that foreign takeovers of Canadian Income trusts have had the opposite effect and caused decrease in Federal Government tax revenues. [ [http://caiti-online-media.blogspot.com/2007/09/primewest-energy-trust-bought-for.html Primewest Energy Trust -Bought for Nothing Down & No Income Taxes] ] [ [http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/francis/archive/2007/10/01/takeovers-income-trust.aspx Canada Under Seige : Thanks Harper and Flaherty] ] Diane Francis, editor-at-large for the National Post, urged that the rule changes be recanted, arguing that there were flaws in the policy which hurt ordinary, hard-working Canadian investors. [ cite news | author = Diane Francis | title = Trusts proposal must be recanted | publisher = Financial Post | url = http://www.caiti.info/resources/diane_francis_articles.pdf | date = December 9 2006] [ [http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/francis/archive/2007/12/29/151909.aspx Reason 5: Tory Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, December 29, 2007] ] Francis pointed out that the root of the problem is that the decision was based on analysis by federal officials who regard RRSPs and pensions as tax "exempts" even though they are merely deferral mechanisms. So the tax leakage analysis numbers incorrect when it comes to taxes paid by Canadian income trust unitholders. [cite web
title=Tory income trust policy is flawed
Canadian Pressvoted the Harper Government and Jim Flaherty 'Business Newsmaker of 2006' for the surprise announcement to tax Income Trusts on October 31, 2006. [ cite news | author = CBC | title = Flaherty named business newsmaker of 2006 for trust tax | publisher = CBC | url = http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/12/28/flahertynewsmaker.html | date = December 28 2006] [ cite news | author = Canadian Press | title = Sudden taxation of income trusts named CP-BN Business Story of the Year | publisher = Canadian Press | url = http://www.cp.org/english/online/OnlineFullStory.aspx?filename=b122933a&newsitemid=31306021&languageid=1 | date = December 28 2006]
Special hearings by the Finance Committee commenced
January 30, 2007. John McCallum, the Liberal Finance critic has called on Minister Flaherty to explain the reasoning behind the change in Income Trust Tax policy. McCallum said "Your first problem is that having lured hundreds of thousands of ordinary Canadians into income trusts by promising not to raise taxes you then cut them off at the knees." [ cite news | author = John MacCallum | title = Your first problem is that having lured hundreds of thousands of ordinary Canadiansinto income trusts by promising not to raise taxes you then cut them off at the knees | publisher = National Post | url = http://www.caiti.info/resources/john_mccallum_op_ed.pdf | date = January 3, 2007 ] [ cite news | author = Liberal.ca | title = Minister of Finance Stonewalling Finance Committee’s Request for Information on Income Trust Decision: Liberal Finance Critic | publisher = Liberal.ca | url = http://www.liberal.ca/news_e.aspx?type=news&id=12240 | date = February 8 2007] [ cite news | author = CAITI | title = Mr. Harper Is this what you mean by Transparency? | publisher = CAITI | url = http://www.caiti.info/resources/redacted.pdf | date = February 8 2007] The Conservatives have the support of Jack Laytonand the NDP on this issue.
February 28 2007the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance released their report [http://www.enerplus.com/documents/StandingCommitteeReportFeb282007.pdf Taxing Income Trusts: Reconcilable or Irreconcilable differences?] recommending a reduction of the proposed tax to 10% from 31.5%.
July 9 2007interview on Business News Network, former Conservative Alberta Premier Ralph Kleincriticized PM Stephen Harperand Jim Flaherty for their mishandling of the Income Trust issue and for not keeping their word on Income Trust taxation. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocqD1BbpcTo] The only thing a politician has is his word.] According to the [http://caiti.info/calculation_35_billion_loss.php Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors] the change in tax rules cost investors $35 billion dollars in market value. Stephen Harper specifically promised "not to raid Senior's nest eggs" during the 2006 Federal Election. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9mibZYpVPY]
Flaherty challenged to debate tax leakage
August 21, 2008Brent Fullard, President of the [http://www.caiti.info/ Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors] challenged Flaherty to debate supposed tax leakage associated with income trusts. Fullard was responding to a comment attributed to a Flaherty spokesperson in April, 2008, as quoted in the Hill Times: "I don't think Jim's losing any sleep over it. As a matter of fact, I'm sure of it. I'm sure he'd love to go a couple of rounds with these CAITI guys in a debate situation." Fullard announced he would put up $50,000, payable to his favorite charity. Given the Minister's "current crusade on financial literacy," Fullard believed a suitable charitable cause would be a scholarship for business education. "By doing this we could help repair the damage caused by the Minister's statement that Ontario is the last place to invest." [Cite web
last = Barry Critchley
title = Flaherty's $50,000 challenge
accessdate = 2008-08-24
date = 2008
url = http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=737695] Flaherty has turned down the request. "The tax fairness plan is law. The Minister made his position clear before the finance committee and there is no need for further debate," according to his press spokesperson. [Cite web
last = Barry Critchley
title = A tale of two documents
accessdate = 2008-08-24
date = 2008-08-22
url = http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=740674]
Federation of Canadian Municipalities report on infrastructure
Flaherty responded to a report from the
Federation of Canadian Municipalitiesthat suggested that cities had an infrastructure deficit of $123 billion and the federal government should step up with some cash with the suggestion cities should stop “whining” and repair their own crumbling infrastructure. CalgaryMayor Dave Bronconnierclaims Flaherty sidestepped responsibility for billions in infrastructure dollars being sought, when Flaherty advised municipalities to “do their job” because the feds are “not in the pothole business.” “Let’s get on with the job and stop complaining about it and do their job,” Flaherty continued, noting the [http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/index-eng.html Building Canada fund] will inject $33 billion into cities to help deal with the infrastructure crunch. However Bronconnier said the plan is merely a “repackaging” of a number of pre-existing funding arrangements. [cite web
title=Calgary mayor keeps hard hat and shovel at the ready for Jim Flaherty
publisher=Daily Commercial News and Construction Record
MississaugaMayor Hazel McCallionwent further by issuing a challenge to Flaherty to publicly debate the need for permanent federal funding for the repair and upkeep of municipal roads and bridges. McCallion said “Flaherty has stated in the media that some of the municipalities have not kept up with infrastructure and did not establish adequate reserves. Well, I can tell him that he is dead wrong. The facts are that Mississaugahas carefully set aside reserves for infrastructure for years.” McCallion noted that cities are trying to maintain 58 per cent of public infrastructure with eight cents of every tax dollar. [cite web
title=Hazel calls out the Finance Minister - The Mississauga News - Mississauga.com
first=Joe] Flaherty did not accept Hazel McCallion's offer to debate. [cite web
title=In this corner, a Tory minister wearing blinders
Department of Finance contracts questioned
Treasury Boardrules requiring a bidding process for contracts of $25,000 or more, Flaherty admitted his office broke government contracting rules in hiring Hugh MacPhie to help write the 2007 budget speech and provide advice on how to sell the document. MacPhie, who had written speeches for former Ontario Tory premier Mike Harris, was awarded the $122,000 contract without tender by Flaherty's office. [cite web
title=The Canadian Press: Opposition asks for reviews of contract to Flaherty speech writer
February 7, 2008Liberal Finance Critic John McCallumformally called on Auditor General Sheila Fraserto conduct an audit into the untendered contract awarded by Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty to speechwriter Hugh MacPhie for work done in advance of the 2007 Budget. [cite web
title=Liberals Call on Auditor General to Investigate $122,000 Contract
Toronto Staralleged several people who supported Flaherty when he was an Ontario cabinet minister or who supported his two failed bids to lead the Ontario Tories were awarded employment contracts or given appointments. The employment contracts awarded were under the $25,000 Treasury Board contract bidding limit. Bronwen Evans received a $24,877.50 contract to write speeches for Flaherty from June 2006 until last February. David Curtain, who worked on Flaherty's Ontario leadership campaign, received $24,877.50 to write the finance minister's first budget speech. Curtain was also paid $3,350 to write a keynote address earlier in 2008 for Flaherty. Lawyer James Love, who donated $63,000 to Flaherty over two leadership campaigns, was appointed to the Royal Canadian Mint. Another Flaherty donor, Carol Hansell, was appointed to the board of directors of the Bank of Canada in October 2006. Toronto family law lawyer Sara Beth Mintz, an Ontario Progressive Conservative Party vice-president, received $24,900 for budget "analysis, assessment and advice." MacPhie also got another contract for $24,645 for work done on Advantage Canada, a long-term, national economic plan. Opposition parties say they are suspicious that contracts are coming in just under $25,000 in order to give business to Flaherty's friends and supporters. [cite web
title=TheStar.com | Canada | Flaherty contracts questioned
May 13, 2008Flaherty appeared before the Public Accounts committee, facing questions about multiple sole-sourced contracts worth more than $300,000 that were given by the government. [cite web
title=Flaherty grilled over untendered communications contracts
first=Meagan] The finance minister says he was unaware his former chief of staff broke government rules in handing a well-connected Tory an untendered contract to write the 2007 budget speech. [cite web
title=The Canadian Press: Flaherty says unaware $122,000 speech contract to supporter improper
* [http://www.conservative.ca/?section_id=1051&linkTo=true&districtId=1643&language_id=0 Profile from Conservative campaign website]
* [http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=95e9d5a2-e9a6-4037-b6a7-218bfdc01a33&Language=E&Section=FederalExperience Parliament Webpage]
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Flaherty, James Michael (full name)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Canadian politician
DATE OF BIRTH=
December 30, 1949
PLACE OF BIRTH=Lachine,
DATE OF DEATH=living
PLACE OF DEATH=
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