Finance says goodbye to Flaherty

The man who led the country through one of the worst recessions has stepped down from his post as finance minister.

The federal politician who led the nation through one of the worst economic crises of 2008-2009 has handed in his resignation letter.

After more than eight years on the job - one of the longest terms served
- Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced he will be leaving politics - a decision he says he made with this family earlier this year.

Asserting that his decision has nothing to do with recent health problems, Flaherty says he will return to the private sector. He will hold his position as MP for now, while maintaining his seat in the House of Commons, according to an official statement from the Prime Minister's office.

"As I begin another chapter in my life, I leave feeling fulfilled with what we have accomplished as a government and a country during one of the most challenging economic periods in our country's history," Flaherty said in a statement.

Among his list of accomplishments, Flaherty - who was appointed the the position in 2006 when the Conservatives took power - was behind the creation of the Tax Free Savings Account and the Registered Disibility Savings Account. He was also responsible for cooling the housing market and implementing tax cuts including cutting the GST by a percentage point in 2006 and 2008. He also claimed that a family of four was saving an average $3,220 in taxes compared with their bill in 2006. Flaherty's latest Feb. 11 budget virtually balanced the books despite running up large deficits due to the recession.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper regretted the loss of his "No. 1 money man," but would name a replacement within days.

"In a political career of almost 20 years, minister Flaherty has exemplified the best qualities of those who enter public life: a true commitment to service, and a sincere desire to leave the country in better shape than it was when he entered politics," Mr. Harper said in a statement.

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