It is with deep sadness that I heard earlier today of the Hon. Jim Flaherty’s untimely death, a death all the more tragic for coming so close on the heels of retirement from his distinguished career in public service.
Jim Flaherty was much more than a political and government leader. His handling of the Finance portfolio through a particularly tumultuous period of Canadian and global economic history has been widely admired. He displayed calm and strength of character when most needed.
But Canadian universities have added reason to mourn his passing.
Thanks to his leadership, the Government of Canada invested in discovery and innovation at Canadian universities at a time when other governments were cutting funding to researchers. The Canada First Research Excellence Fund, for example, is one of Jim Flaherty’s legacy initiatives. As Minister, James Flaherty was always open to university leaders. He was an active and committed partner in our endeavours.
On behalf of the UBC community, I extend my deepest condolences to the Flaherty family and to Jim Flaherty’s colleagues and friends across Canada.
Stephen J. Toope
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of British Columbia