Stephen Harper offers heartfelt condolences to Flaherty’s family

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 Stephen Harper offers heartfelt condolences to Flaherty’s family Stephen Harper offers heartfelt condolences to Flaherty’s family The House of Commons is silent and its members are in shock over the sudden news that former finance minister Jim Flaherty has died, just weeks after resigning from cabinet. Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a message to his caucus Thursday afternoon. “Today is a very sad day for me, for our government and for all of our country. I learned a short while ago that our colleague, my partner and my friend, has passed away suddenly today,” Mr. Harper said, as his wife, Laureen, who was at his side, wiped tears from her eyes and looked upwards. Ottawa police say they received a medical call to Mr. Flaherty’s condo building at 12:27 p.m. The call was “VSA” – vital signs absent – and was considered non-suspicious, police spokesperson Carole Lavigne said. A source said he died of a heart attack. Mr. Flaherty, 64, had resigned from his finance post on March 18, saying he planned on taking a position in the private sector. As news spread, the House of Commons was suspended for roughly 10 minutes just after 2:15 p.m. MPs from all parties consoled each other during the break. The House then adjourned for the day and the Canadian flag atop the Peace Tower has been lowered in his honour. Mr. Flaherty was first elected in 2006, and served as finance minister nearly his entire time as an MP. A lawyer by training, he’d served previously for 10 years as a provincial MPP in Ontario, holding the finance portfolio and other roles.