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Harper and Jim Flaherty’s family pay tribute at state funeral

by Jane Taber and Chris Hannay

The state funeral for former finance minister Jim Flaherty was held Wednesday at St. James Cathedral in Toronto. Mr. Flaherty died Thursday, apparently of a heart attack, after resigning from cabinet just a few weeks earlier. Here are some highlights of the service.

Harper delivers first eulogy

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and his wife Laureen wait for the start of the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and his wife Laureen wait for the start of the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Choking back tears, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered an emotional and powerful tribute to his friend and partner, Jim Flaherty, calling his decision to name him finance minister “one of the best decisions of my political career.”

Mr. Harper wrote the tribute himself, recalling meeting Mr. Flaherty in 2005 at his office when they talked about his wish to run for federal office. “He was sheepish,” remembered Mr. Harper, “he had not supported my leadership campaign.”

He also said that Mr. Flaherty was initially reticent about taking on the finance portfolio.

And then he talked about their last meeting in his office, just a few weeks ago, when Mr. Flaherty said that he was retiring from office. “I told him that … he had done a great job and I understood the sacrifices it entailed. I wished him well. I told him not to be a stranger.”

The Prime Minister also detailed Mr. Flaherty’s legacy, which he says was putting Canada on a stable track through the 2008 -2009 recession. Even as he pushed the stimulus money out the door, Mr. Harper said, he made significant changes, including not using the crisis to build bureaucracies or to create new programs.

He joked about Mr. Flaherty – saying that he once described as the best finance minister “per inch” in the world. Mr. Flaherty was only 5’ 3” tall and would make fun of his height. “He delivered many jokes about his own shortness but short as he was upon the world stage he often strode like a giant,” said Mr. Harper.

Addressing, Mr. Flaherty’s wife, MPP Christine Elliott and their triplet sons, he acknowledged that as traumatic an event as this has been for Mr. Flaherty’s friends, it is worse for his family.

“We have lost a partner in politics but you have lost a partner in life,” he said.

Read Mr. Harper’s full speech.

Sister Norah delivers second eulogy

Wife and sons give tributes

Christine Elliott touches the casket of her late husband at the state funeral for the Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Christine Elliott touches the casket of her late husband at the state funeral for the Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Christine Elliott characterized her husband as a perfectionist, smart and intense. She says that her husband would do anything for his triplet boys, now 23 years old, singling out John, who has a mental disability. She said “inclusion in every respect was his ultimate goal.”  

John and his father had a special relationship, spending a lot of time together at sports events, especially baseball games.  John is a Toronto Blue Jays fan. John considered his Dad his “ticket purveyor,” she joked. John’s brothers, Galen and Quinn, also both spoke emotionally about their father. John did not speak but stood behind his mother during her remarks.

Leitch gives Reading

Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, who had reportedly performed CPR on Mr. Flaherty on the day he died, gave the Reading. She is a long-time friend of Mr. Flaherty and his wife. Dr. Leitch, who is also a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, called the former finance minister her “champion.” She told The Globe and Mail that he called her every second day for months to try to persuade her to run for federal office. He finally wore her down. She ran in the Ontario riding of Simcoe–Grey in the 2011 federal election.

Mourners arrived

The casket of Canada’s former finance minister Jim Flaherty arrives at St. James Cathedral for his state funeral in Toronto (Canadian Press)

Before the funeral, former cabinet minister Jay Hill told The Globe’s Jane Taber about his recent visits with Mr. Flaherty.

On all levels it just seemed to me [Flaherty] had given it all and he had given too much. … He was just exhausted in all ways.

Who’s there?

Most of Mr. Flaherty’s caucus colleagues are in attendance. Four Liberal MPs, including leader Justin Trudeau and Scott Brison, long time finance critic, are also attending.

Notably in the church is Jim Prentice, former minister of industry and aboriginal affairs, who left government, and was appointed senior executive vice-president and vice-chairman of CIBC in January 2011. His presence reminds people of choices that politicians make about leaving their posts — and careers after public service. Much has been made of the fact that Mr. Flaherty was preparing for a career in the private sector, where he could make his mark and some money after politics. Sadly, his retirement lasted only a few weeks.

Canada’s Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Official Opposition leader Thomas Muclair arrive for the state funeral of Canada’s former finance minister Jim Flaherty in Toronto. (Canadian Press)

The church has a capacity of about 800, with an additional 1,000 people in tents outside.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who worked closely with Mr. Flaherty over eight years in government, will deliver a eulogy he penned himself, as reported by The Globe’s Steven Chase.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver waits inside the church at the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Finance Minister Joe Oliver waits inside the church at the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Many notables in politics, both federally and provincially, have been invited, including:

  • Governor-General David Johnston.
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former prime ministers Brian Mulroney and John Turner.
  • Many federal cabinet ministers, including Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Treasury Board President Tony Clement, Trade Minister Ed Fast, Employment Minister Jason Kenney, Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, Justice Minister Peter MacKay, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, new Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.
  • NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
  • Former Bank of Canada governor (currently with the Bank of England) Mark Carney.
  • Michael Horgan, deputy minister of finance under Mr. Flaherty.
  • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and former premiers Mike Harris and David Peterson.
  • Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo.
  • All Conservative MPs and all MPPs from Ontario’s legislature were invited.
  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, his brother, councillor Doug Ford, and their mother Diane Ford.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his wife Renata arrive at the church for the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his wife Renata arrive at the church for the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The end of the service

What is a state funeral?

A state funeral is a public ceremony organized by the government of Canada, in co-ordination with the family of the deceased. Traditionally, the honour is bestowed on prime ministers, governors-general and cabinet ministers who die in office. The prime minister may offer state funerals for other public figures who did not fit that criteria, such as Mr. Flaherty or the NDP’s then-leader Jack Layton when he died in 2011. (See a list of Canada’s state funerals.) Watch this video for more on state funerals.

– Chris Hannay, digital politics editor (@channay on Twitter), and Jane Taber (@JaneTaber1 on Twitter)

One last horse-race number from Ontario’s election campaign

As you probably know if you spent much time around here during Ontario’s election campaign, we put a fair amount of time and effort into trying to understand the perspectives of voters.

The idea of the Listening Post project that Innovative Research Group did for us was to get beyond the usual horse-race polling that tends to dominate coverage, and get a better grasp on why people would vote the way they did. So we opted not to report the horse-race numbers from this research at all – because that really wasn’t the point, and we didn’t want those numbers to overshadow the more in-depth stuff, and because the idea was to produce information that would hold up regardless of who won.

That said, as we continue to roll out a bit more of the numbers-behind-the-numbers this week, we can have a little extra confidence in this research. Because if we had reported the horse-race figures that Innovative Research showed us the day before the election, that company would be getting to do a little crowing about now.

Here, for the record, are the final decided-voter numbers based on a weighted sample of 526 Listening Post respondents who participated in an online panel between June 8 and June 10.  Other than some modest upward movement by the NDP in the campaign’s final days, these were fairly consistent with what Innovative Research saw (often with larger samples) through the campaign’s final weeks – a strong Liberal lead over a PC Party with a lower share of the popular vote than most other polls were suggesting.

Decided-voter numbers

Based on a weighted sample of 526 Listening Post respondents.

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

And here, in case you don’t have such things committed to memory, is what popular vote turned out to be once the ballots had been counted on June 12.

Popular vote

Again, the horse race really wasn’t the point here. But if nothing else, it’s nice to know that when it came to voting intentions, the people who were helping us get a better read on the electorate were apparently pretty reflective of that electorate at large.

polls
Filed under: Ontario Election

Hudak bet Liberals wouldn’t bother to vote. Here’s how he was wrong

This morning, I wrote broadly about how some very incorrect assumptions led Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservative astray. It’s perhaps worth a closer look at a few numbers that tell the story.

Mr. Hudak’s strategy revolved largely around the premise that in battleground ridings, particularly in the Greater Toronto, turnout among PC voters would be higher than among likely Liberals. If it failed, members of his campaign team predicted, it would be because the NDP collapsed and failed to split the centre-left vote.

What didn’t seem to concern most Tories was the prospect of Liberal supporters being as motivated as their own – let alone more motivated.

And yet, if one compares this election’s results in those battlegrounds to the results from 2011, it appears that’s exactly what happened. Increases in Liberal votes surpassed increases in PC votes (if the PC votes went up at all) in virtually any riding it’s worth looking at, and not significantly at the expense of the New Democrats.

Here, for example, is the difference in 2011 and 2014 vote totals in Richmond Hill - the sort of bellwether GTA riding the Tories probably needed to take in order to win government.

Election results in Richmond Hill

That one, like a bunch of others, was at least kind of a wash – which is better for the Tories than what can be said about Mississauga-Erindale, where the Tories thought they had a chance of taking out an incumbent (Harinder Takhar) who didn’t even decide to seek re-election until the campaign had started.

Election results in Mississauga-Erindale

Not only did this phenomenon prevent the Tories from taking Liberal seats; it also accounted for them losing ones they’d long held. The most dramatic example, where the Tories seemed to also suffer for supporters deserting them for other parties, might be Durham – a riding that was vacated by veteran PC MPP John O’Toole when he retired:

Election results in Durham

And venturing over to the province’s southwest, where the Liberals were supposed to be losing seats rather than gaining them, here’s what happened to incumbent PC MPP Rob Leone in Cambridge:

Election results in Cambridge

I could go on, but you probably get the general drift.

As a side note, while still nowhere near winning anywhere, the Green Party experienced more growth than one might have expected. Whether that’s a tribute to Green Leader Mike Schreiner or just a reflection of none-of-the-above sentiments is probably best left to another day.

For now, we’re still sorting through why the Liberals did better than most anyone expected and the Tories much worse. An important caveat with the turnout story is that it’s probably not a completely straightforward one. For instance, the Tories may have motivated more of their base than previously, while losing some of their more moderate supporters to the other parties.

Still, looking at the above numbers, it’s hard not to think that the Tories vastly overestimated their motivation skills, and vastly underestimated how much Ms. Wynne – with a big assist from Mr. Hudak – could motivate Liberals.

analysistim hudak
Filed under: Ontario Election

Hudak to resign as PC leader: ‘We did not receive the results we wanted’

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak, right, announced will be stepping down as party leader after being defeated.

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak, right, announced he will be stepping down as party leader after being defeated, at his headquarters in Grimsby, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Tim Hudak won his riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook, and will stay on as MPP.

tim hudak
Filed under: Ontario Election

Two surprising results for Toronto in Ontario election

Toronto saw a couple surprising losses in the Ontario election, with a long-time NDP MPP getting turfed and another politician in a key west-end riding also being voted out of office.

Reaction was swift, and for some, sad.

As in the tweet above, some on social media were quick to assign blame. Liberal candidate Han Dong won by a margin of 6,917 votes.

In Etobicoke-Lakeshore, former deputy mayor Doug Holyday found himself without a seat less than a year after he won it for the PCs in a by-election.

Mr. Milczyn won by 6,201 votes.

Like Mr. Marchese, Mr. Holyday has had a long political career.

analysis
Filed under: Ontario Election

Who won in five key ridings

The polls have closed in Ontario’s 41st general election. Here are some key races that were crucial to deciding the outcome.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Doug Holyday (centre)   stands with wife Franca and PC leader Tim Hudak  after winning   the Ontario by-election as Doug Ford watches,  on Thursday August 1, 2013.  (Chris Young for The Globe and Mail)

Doug Holyday (centre) stands with wife Franca and PC leader Tim Hudak after winning the Ontario by-election as Doug Ford watches, on Thursday August 1, 2013. (Chris Young for The Globe and Mail)

Liberal candidate Peter Milczyn won the riding, deafeating PC candidate and former Toronto deputy mayor Doug Holyday.

Holyday won the riding by a tight margin in a 2013 by-election, beating out his former city hall colleague, Peter Milczyn.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore was the only Tory riding in Toronto. Mr. Milczyn’s victory returns the riding to the Liberals, who controlled it for 10 years before Mr. Holyday’s win.

This time however, Mr. Holyday didn’t have Etobicoke natives Rob and Doug Ford campaigning for him. The Toronto mayor is still in rehab.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore, 2013 by-election

Brampton-Springdale

Liberal candidate Harinder Malhi, right, campaigns door-door with members of the SEIU healthcare union in the riding of Brampton-Springle, Tuesday June 10, 2014.  (J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail)

Liberal candidate Harinder Malhi, right, campaigns door-door with members of the SEIU healthcare union in the riding of Brampton-Sprindale, Tuesday June 10, 2014. (J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail)

Harinder Malhi has won the riding, keeping it in Liberal hands.

The Liberals narrowly managed to hold on to this riding in 2011, when PC candidate Pam Hundal lost by fewer than 3,000 votes to high-profile incumbent Linda Jeffrey. Ms. Jeffrey gave up her seat in March, however, to run in Brampton’s mayoral race and was replaced by Malhi in this election.

NDP candidate Gurpreet Dhillon had hoped to sweep up the riding in the same orange wave that won Bramalea-Gore-Malton for the party in 2011. The NDP gathered just 15 per cent of the vote in the last election.

Brampton-Springdale, 2011 election

Peterborough

Jeff Leal , Minister of Rural Affairs, speaks to the media following the swearing in of Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as Ontario's first female premier, on Feb. 11, 2013. (Peter Power/ The Globe and Mail)

Jeff Leal, Minister of Rural Affairs, speaks to the media following the swearing in of Kathleen Wynne on Feb. 11, 2013. (Peter Power/ The Globe and Mail)

Peterborough has remained one of Ontario’s bellwether ridings, re-electing Liberal Jeff Leal.

Peterborough has voted for the party that won the most seats in that election since the late 1970s.

Leal, who was minister of rural affairs, was up against PC candidate Scott Stewart and NDP’s Sheila Wood.

Ottawa West-Nepean, 2011 elections

Niagara Falls

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, left, and local candidate Wayne Gates, right, speaks to supporters at the Italia Ice Cream shop during a campaign stop in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Thursday, June 5, 2014. Nathan Denette

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, left, and local candidate Wayne Gates, right, speaks to supporters at the Italia Ice Cream shop during a campaign stop in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Thursday, June 5, 2014. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

It looks like NDP MP Wayne Gates will head back to Queen’s Park, landing far ahead in the polls from his opponents with about 50 per cent of the vote, now that most polls have returned results.

PC candidate Bart Maves has secured only 30 per cent so far, a larger gap than when he lost to Mr. Gates by about 1,000 votes in a by-election earlier this year.

Candidates from all three major parties spent plenty of time trying to woo voters in the riding during their campaigns.

Niagara Falls, 2014 by-election

Ottawa West-Nepean

Liberal Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli takes questions from the media following Ontario auditor general Jim McCarter's press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto about the cancellation of the Mississauga power plant, on Monday, April 15, 2013.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Matthew Sherwood

Liberal Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli takes questions from the media on Monday, April 15, 2013. (Matthew Sherwood/The Canadian Press)

Liberal cabinet minister Bob Chiarelli has managed to keep his seat in Ottawa West-Nepean.

There was speculation that Chiarelli was in danger of losing his seat as the PCs tried to squeeze their way into the Liberal stronghold in the Ottawa region.

In 2011, he won by just 2 per cent of the vote against PC candidate Randall Denley, who was competing for the seat again in this election.

Ottawa West-Nepean, 2011 election

analysis
Filed under: Ontario Election
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