News, Politics

State Funeral For Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty

Jim Flaherty, 2007. Image: Joshua Sherurcij
Jim Flaherty, 2007. Image: Joshua Sherurcij

A “state funeral” will be held in Toronto on Wednesday for Jim Flaherty.

Flaherty was the finance minister for Canada from 2006 to 2014. A federal finance minister decides how a country will spend its money by creating economic policies (documents about the country’s money). Finance minister is perhaps the second most important job in the government (next to prime minister).

Flaherty, 64, passed away last Thursday. He had stepped down from his post as finance minister less than a month before that.

Flaherty was well liked by many people, not just from his Conservative party, but from all political parties in Canada.

Flaherty is remembered as a man with a good sense of humour, who spent many years trying to do good things for his country.

Flaherty was one of Canada’s longest serving finance ministers. In 2007, he introduced a policy that helps parents of disabled children save money for their children’s future. And Flaherty “won wide recognition for steering Canada through the 2008 financial crisis and global recession,” according to an article in the Globe and Mail newspaper.

No official announcement has been made about how Flaherty died, but he may have had a heart attack. He had been battling health problems including a painful skin condition.

It is an honour to have a “state funeral.” They are normally only given to prime ministers and other people with key jobs in a government. However, the prime minister can decide to give any Canadian a state funeral, which is public and has more ceremony than a regular funeral.

Last week politicians honoured Flaherty’s memory with fond speeches. The flag on the Peace Tower in Ottawa was lowered to half mast (half-way down the flag pole). And the CN Tower in Toronto was lit up in green, a nod to Flaherty’s Irish roots.

Flaherty leaves behind his wife, Christine Elliott (an MPP for Ontario) and his three triplet sons, John, Galen and Quinn.

Jim Flaherty’s funeral will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at St. James cathedral in downtown Toronto.

Related links
The government has set up an online book of condolences for Jim Flaherty, where people are invited to leave a message for his family. People are also invited to remember Flaherty by making a donation to the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ontario.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
This article contains information about ways in which Jim Flaherty was remembered or honoured. Make a list of all the different ways.
Hint: don’t forget to check the Related links

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
As the article explains, state funerals are usually for prime ministers and other very important people in government. However, the article explains thatthe prime minister can decide to give any Canadian a state funeral, which is public and has more ceremony than a regular funeral.”

Why do you think someone who did not hold a high level job in government be honoured with a state funeral? What would they have needed to do in order to be given this honour?

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).

Language Feature: Parentheses
Parentheses (also called brackets) are used several times in this article.

How are they used? How do they change how you read the story?