Former finance minister Jim Flaherty will be honoured Wednesday in a state funeral in downtown Toronto, after a visitation in his nearby home community.
Details for the memorial were released Sunday, three days after Mr. Flaherty’s sudden death. The MP from the Toronto suburb of Whitby was a key figure in the federal government, serving as finance minister for eight years before his resignation in March.
A visitation will be held Tuesday at Whitby’s Abilities Centre, an initiative long championed by Mr. Flaherty and his wife Christine Elliott, an Ontario MPP. The family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, mourners make donations to the centre. The visitation will run from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A state funeral will be held Wednesday at 3 p.m., at the St. James’ Cathedral in downtown Toronto. The government hasn’t announced a list of attendees, but the memorial – which falls on a break week for MPs – is expected to draw a long list of political dignitaries of all stripes.
Mr. Flaherty died Thursday of an apparent heart attack in his Ottawa condo. He was 64. The MP, first elected in 2006, after a decade in provincial politics, spent nearly all his time on the hill as finance minister until his resignation from cabinet on March 18.
State funerals are customarily given to current and former prime ministers and governors general, as well as to cabinet ministers who die in cabinet. Mr. Flaherty had been out of cabinet a few weeks, but the Prime Minister can grant state funerals in special cases. It has been done twice previously, most recently for Jack Layton in 2011, and it was arranged for Mr. Flaherty “in honour of his years of dedicated service to the Canadian people.”
It will be Canada’s 35th state funeral. “He will be remembered with great affection and respect. Jim and his family remain in our thoughts and our prayers at this difficult time,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday in announcing the state funeral.
The Abilities Centre, opened in 2012, is a fully accessible recreational and community facility in Whitby, with a mission to “enrich the quality of life for people of all ages and abilities through an inclusive environment.” Ms. Elliott serves as interim chair.
Mr. Flaherty was often praised as an advocate for the disabled community, including regularly pushing for the inclusion of the disabled in the work force. As finance minister, he also introduced the registered disability savings plan program. Mr. Flaherty leaves Ms. Elliott and their three sons, including one who has a disability.