Jim Flaherty says he’s staying put until he balances the books.
On the heels of Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s surprise decision to take a new job as head of the Bank of England, speculation has increased of late as to whether Canada’s Finance Minister is working on his last budget.
In the job since 2006, there has been quiet talk in Ottawa that Mr. Flaherty, who turns 63 on Dec. 30, may want to return to the private sector after delivering the 2013 budget.
Mr. Flaherty told reporters Friday in Victoria that he isn’t going anywhere.
“You know, I’ve been Finance Minister for almost seven years. I’m the only Finance Minister our government has had,” said Mr. Flaherty. “We have a long term economic plan, particularly arising out of the budget in 2009, the Economic Action Plan, to get to balanced budgets in the medium term during the course of this Parliament and I intend to see my way through to the end until we are balanced. And as you know, that will be in the medium term during the course of this Parliament. So I intend to stay.”
Mr. Flaherty delivered a fiscal update earlier this month that forecasted a return to balanced books in the 2016-17 fiscal year. He later said the government plans to erase the deficit before the next election in the fall of 2015.
Staying in the finance portfolio isn’t entirely Mr. Flaherty’s decision to make. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has previously said that he intends to shuffle his cabinet around the midway point of his mandate, which would be around the summer or fall of 2013.
Mr. Flaherty is already one of the longest-serving finance ministers in decades. He recently outlasted the tenure of Michael Wilson, who oversaw the portfolio in the Mulroney government from September 1984 to April 1991. Mr. Flaherty still has about two years until he surpasses the term of Paul Martin, finance minister for Jean Chrétien from November 1993 to June 2002.