Peter Mansbridge, leading the discussion, said he was amazed to see parliamentarians from all stripes immediately come together to mourn after hearing about Flaherty’s death.
Andrew Coyne said part of that came from the shock of Flaherty’s death, so soon after his retirement, but a lot of it relates to the way the bold, self-confident politician lived up to his “Happy Warrior” persona in government life.
“He’d be out there in Parliament just tearing a strip off (the opposition), but he couldn’t resist letting a smile cross his face,” Coyne said.
Bruce Anderson agreed, praising Flaherty’s ability to engage in a fierce partisan argument, but maintain respect for the person he was criticizing.
Remember, Anderson said, beyond the political fighting “there is a spirit of community and fellowship” in Ottawa.
Chantal Hébert echoed Anderson’s comments, reminding the panel this Parliament has seen more than its fair share of tragedy and turmoil, including Jack Layton’s death. She said many parliamentarians will be sad to see Flaherty “robbed” of the chance to live a post-politics life, something many on the Hill fondly look forward to.
You can watch the entire At Issue discussion in the video above.