York grad Flaherty is new finance minister

Jim Flaherty (LLB ’73) was sworn in Monday as Canada’s new finance minister. Appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Conservative MP from Whitby-Oshawa is a newcomer to Parliament but brings 10 years experience in provincial politics to his new post.

Flaherty held similarly senior positions in Ontario provincial cabinets. First elected in 1995 and re-elected in 1999 and 2003 as the MPP for the riding of Whitby-Ajax, he was deputy premier and minister of finance under Conservative Ontario premier Mike Harris. As finance minister, Flaherty was responsible for a $64-billion budget, implemented major tax reductions and oversaw Ontario’s $20-billion SuperBuild Corporation.

Under Harris, Flaherty held other senior posts, including attorney general, minister responsible for native affairs, minister of labour and solicitor general, and minister of correctional services. Later under Conservative premier Ernie Eves, he served as minister of enterprise, opportunity and innovation. Most recently, as a member of the provincial opposition, he was critic for public infrastructure renewal.

Flaherty graduated from Princeton University and has a law degree from York’s Osgoode Law School. He was called to the bar in 1975 and practised law for more than 20 years before entering politics.

He is the past president of the Head Injury Association of the Durham region.