Flaherty had denied that his health had anything to do with his resignation as finance minister last month.
He said: “As many of you know, I faced a health issue over this past year. I have received much support and good wishes from Canadians across the country and for that, I am thankful. I am happy to report that I am on the road to a full recovery and the decision to leave politics was not related in any way to my health. This decision was made because it is the right one for me and my family at this time.”
His family issued a statement, saying their “beloved husband and father passed away peacefully today in Ottawa.” They asked for privacy.
The afternoon question period in the House of Commons was suspended.
The Ontario Legislature also had a recess out of respect for Flaherty and his wife Christine Elliott, who serves as MPP, according to the Toronto Star.
Premier Christy Clark said: “I was shocked and saddened to hear that Jim Flaherty has passed away. This is a terrible loss for our country. Jim was a great leader and Canadian. He served with distinction in both provincial and federal politics, and made a difference in both. Under his watch, Canada returned to stability and balanced budgets.
“And while his achievements in Toronto and Ottawa will stand the test of time, perhaps his most important legacy was as a family man. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Christine and their three sons.”
HARPER had praised Flaherty’s performance. He said: “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.
“Canada has benefited immensely from Minister Flaherty’s contributions as one of the longest serving Finance Ministers in our history. Since 2006, he has been a steady hand, ably guiding Canada through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression and gaining the country a solid global reputation for economic management.
“We emerged from the crisis in a position of strength. Today we lead the G-7 in job creation, Canada is recognized as one of the best places in the world to do business, and we are fulfilling our commitment to keep taxes low. And, thanks largely to Minister Flaherty, our Government will balance the budget by 2015, as we promised to do.”
HARPER in a statement on Thursday said: “I learned a short while ago that our colleague, my partner and my friend, Jim Flaherty, has passed away suddenly today.
“This comes as an unexpected and a terrible shock to Jim’s family, to our Caucus, and to Laureen and me.
“And it is with the heaviest of hearts that I offer my family’s condolences, and I know the condolences of the entire Parliament and Government of Canada, to Jim’s wife Christine, and his sons Quinn, Galen and John at this tragic time.
“Christine, Quinn, Galen, John, you’re in all of our thoughts and prayers.
“Jim will be sorely missed, not only by his many friends on both sides of the House, I know particularly his friends in this Caucus among whom he was held unanimously in great, a combination of great respect and affection.
“But he will also be missed by the countless thousands of Canadians that he devoted himself to and whom he helped during his long and successful career in public life.
“The days ahead will provide more suitable occasions for all of us to reflect on the legacy of Jim’s life in public service and for me to talk about the special relationship that I shared with Jim.
“But for now, to he and all of his loved ones, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
FEDERAL NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said: “It is with great sadness that Catherine and I learned of Jim Flaherty’s passing today. We join all New Democrats in offering our most sincere condolences to his family, loved ones and colleagues in this difficult time.
“As Minister of Finance, Mr. Flaherty served his country with dedication and conviction, even as he faced mounting health challenges. As both a man and a politician, I will remember him for his pleasant demeanour and strength of character.
“Today we all mourn this most proud Canadian.”
FEDERAL Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau said: “It is with great shock and sadness that I learned of Jim Flaherty’s death.“It was only last month that Jim resigned as Minister of Finance, and I joined with all Canadians then in wishing him well as he looked forward to retirement from public life.“Jim was a dedicated Parliamentarian with a strong social conscience and fundamentally committed to the ideal of public service. He was a proud Canadian and showed continued devotion and commitment to his country over many years. This is a loss to the entire family in the House of Commons.
“My heart goes out to his wife, Christine, their three children, and his family during this very sad time.”