My Brief Encounter With Jim Flaherty

In February 2007, early in his tenure as Finance Minister, I managed to secure a Q&A interview with Jim Flaherty, former Finance Minister for Canada. The interview was by phone and at the time I was working for a Canadian pension magazine, so the interview was geared towards pension issues and the government’s role up to that point.

I recall my phone interview with the Minister. I had spent a lot of time essentially begging his handlers to set up an interview for me — which at the time was a bit of a coup for a trade B2B publication. After a great deal of effort and back and forth, I got the ok from his communications people and received the call from what I assume was Minister Flaherty’s cell phone. I was given only 10 minutes to talk to him but he answered as many questions as I had and never indicated to me that he was in a hurry or had to run. 

The call took place during a break in Question Period and I distinctly remember hearing the noise of Parliamentarians shuffling around him as we spoke. Even back then we were talking about issues that are still being discussed today. Pension splitting, investment in infrastructure using the P3 model and his optimism towards creating a national securities regulator. At the end of the conversation he wished me “good luck with the article” and I made sure to send him a copy when it was published although I have no idea of knowing if he read it.

As we have already heard so many times, Minister Flaherty will be missed by many. But as I heard the news of his passing, I recalled my brief phone encounter with him and thinking even then how down to Earth and straight forward he was. 

Here is the Q&A from that interview —  http://www.benefitscanada.com/pensions/db/viewpoint-flahertys-forecast-10376