Flaherty's resignation no surprise to some advisors

Advisors are disappointed to see one of Canada's longest serving finance ministers go, and hope the man next in line will pick up the reigns without a hitch.

The departure of Canada’s money man isn’t fazing some financial advisors.

Jim Flaherty – one of Canada’s longest serving finance ministers, who saw Canada through the 2008-09 recession – announced his resignation Tuesday, citing a desire to return to the private sector, after eight years holding the post.

“I’m disappointed … however, I can understand that having served the length of time that he has served, Flaherty would probably like to leave and move back to the private sector where he can have a different lifestyle,” said advisor, Doug McCaw, managing director of Stonegate Private Counsel. “Being a finance minister has an awful lot of demands … and I think that he probably has the opportunity to embellish his retirement by moving out of government.”

Ontario advisor, Marta Stiteler agrees, but doesn’t feel the news will affect the way she conducts business. “I think it’s unfortunate, but people come and go and he has had some health issues,” she says. “I think it’s an interesting piece of news, but it doesn’t affect me in my business.”

In addition to creating Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs), Flaherty was also behind the proposed creation of a national securities regulator for the finance industry – pushing the issue up to the Supreme Court of Canada. Denied by the court, he bid for a cooperative regulator which, if approved, would launch in 2015. So far, only Ontario and B.C. have agreed to sign on.

“I am a strong advocate of a national securities commission and a national regulatory body,” said McCaw. “It wouldn’t be an issue to me. I think it’s long overdue in Canada.” (continued.)


Prime Minister Stephen Harper wasted no time, announcing Flaherty’s replacement – Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver – on Wednesday. Oliver, 73, is a former investment banker, who once led the Investment Dealers Association of Canada (IDAC) – the predecessor to Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC).

“I would only hope that the prime minister and those responsible for the selection did their due diligence and are obviously satisfied that Joe Oliver can pick up the baton and carry on,” says McCaw.

Stiteler feels things will remain status quo. “My presumption is that his (Flaherty's) replacement is going to carry on. I think it is going to be a very similar style,” said Stiteler. “It’s already set in course, so it’s not going to affect the budget being balanced.”

When citing Flaherty’s accomplishments, his ability to combat the recession seems to be top of mind. “He (Flaherty) managed to get us through two very, very tough years in Canada,” said McCaw. “That was the second worst recession in the last 100 years. He was very much involved in navigating the country through that very difficult period.”

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