News, Politics

Canada Gets A New Finance Minister


Joe Oliver. Image: Rocco Rossi
Joe Oliver. Image: Rocco Rossi

In February, Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Finance, announced that the country’s finances were in good shape when he gave the 2014 budget.

He was praised by people in the country’s Conservative (political party) who believe that making sure we have more money than we owe is one of the most important things a government can do.

Last week, in a surprise move, Flaherty left the government. He said he wanted to work for a non-government firm. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he will miss Flaherty’s steady hand in sticking to the Conservative government’s goals. Flaherty had been Canada’s Finance Minister since 2006.

The reason Flaherty gave for leaving the government was that after 20 years of politics he wants to move into something else. But he won’t be doing that right away. First, he wants to take some time off. Last year, Flaherty was diagnosed with a serious skin disease but he says that isn’t the reason he left.

Joe Oliver, a Member of Parliament (MP) from Toronto and Minister of Natural Resources has been named the new Minister of Finance. Supporters say he’s the best person for the job because he has a background in finance. But others believe that some of his comments while he was Natural Resources Minister were insulting to Canada’s First Nations people and to environmentalists.

Jim Flaherty. Image: Joey Coleman
Jim Flaherty. Image: Joey Coleman

People were surprised that his swearing- in ceremony (where he was officially made the new Minister of Finance) was done in private.

Afterwards, neither the Prime Minister nor Oliver said anything to the media. Usually this is a public ceremony.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
This article ends with a bit of a mystery: usually the Minister of Finance’s swearing-in ceremony is public but in this case it was held in private. Does the article give you enough information to figure out the answer to this mystery? If not, how would you go about finding more information that might lead you to the answer?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrating Understanding
One of the key responsibilities of a Finance Minister is “making sure we have more money than we owe.” What do you think this means – can you think of specific examples when a Finance Minister would need to do this?

What else do you think the Finance Minister is responsible for?

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Parenthesis
Parentheses (also referred to as brackets) are used to insert additional information into a sentence. Read the article carefully and explain how the information in brackets helps you to better understand the article.