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A book of condolences and a photograph of former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is placed on a table in the lobby of House of Commons on April 11, 2014.
A book of condolences and a photograph of former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is placed on a table in the lobby of House of Commons on April 11, 2014.
(FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

How Flaherty’s death complicates Harper’s by-election decisions

Stephen Harper not only lost a friend and a party mentor when Jim Flaherty passed away suddenly last week, he gained another hole in the federal political landscape.

It is a hole that the diminutive former finance minister filled in a very big way – one that presents strategic challenges for Mr. Harper as he tries to create the most advantageous narrative for his party going into the 2015 general election.