Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is sticking around in politics, even suggesting he will run again in 2015.
In Halifax to speak at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies dinner, Mr. Flaherty told The Globe and Mail that he thought he had another election in him. He joked that his wife, Christine Elliott, who is a Progressive Conservative MPP in Ontario, likes him to be busy and not underfoot. Their triplet sons are 22 now.
He suggested he was still young enough to be in the game. (He will turn 64 at the end of the year.) He noted that he is one of the longest-serving federal finance ministers in Canadian history, and could surpass Liberal Paul Martin for second place. Mr. Martin served as minister from 1993 to 2002; Mr. Flaherty has been the minister since 2006 and has delivered eight budgets. William Fielding, a Liberal, served about 19 years in two stints spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
On the eve of a cabinet shuffle, rumours have been swirling that Mr. Flaherty was on his way out of politics. Recently, however, he put out the word that he was going nowhere – without saying that he would seek re-election.
The minister is suffering from a skin disorder that requires a strong drug regimen. It has made his face bloated and has contributed to weight gain.
On Thursday night, however, he looked well as he fielded questions from seafood billionaire John Risley, who is chairman of AIMS. Talking about what keeps him up at night, he said he is troubled by the recession in Europe. “I am very worried about Europe,” he said, noting there is a serious housing bubble there.
He would not say how well talks are going regarding a free-trade deal with Europe.
The minister said he was also worried about the Canadian housing market, especially on condos, but believes that government measures to cool the market have helped. “We”ll keep a close eye on it,” he said, adding that the banks are being very “prudent in not reducing their rates.”