Jim Flaherty, who passed away suddenly Thursday at 64, will go down in Canadian history books as one of the longest-standing and most well-respected finance ministers to serve this country.

His career as a Conservative politician spans nearly 20 years, having first been elected as an Ontario MPP in 1995. He then moved into federal politics and took on the role of federal finance minister in 2006. He went on to receive international acclaim, being named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine in 2009, and winning respect and acclaim as one the country’s finest finance ministers even from his political rivals.

Here are a few of the ways Jim Flaherty will be remembered for changing Canada.

  • He steered Canada through the Great Recession
    AP
    Flaherty balanced stimulus programs and fiscal management in efforts to keep Canada on an even keel during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Canada emerged from that crisis as a bastion of economic stability among its G8 peers.
  • He got rid of the penny
    CP
    The ever prudent finance minister said the penny would be no more during the delivery of his 2012 budget speech,saying the move would save Canadians some $11 million a year. “The penny is a currency without any currency in Canada,” he said in the speech.
  • He reduced the GST
    Flaherty cut the GST rate twice during his time as finance minister, first cutting it from seven per cent to six per cent in the 2006 budget. He cut that rate again in 2008 to its current five per cent.
  • He balanced the budget (after unbalancing it)
    CP
    The Conservatives, who inherited budgetary surpluses from the Liberals, fell into the red when they introduced a host of stimulus programs that helped the country bounce back from recession. Flaherty promised incessantly that his government would be able to fix the books by the 2015 election. In the delivery of his 2014 budget speech, he announced that the country was technically out of deficit, taking into account the $3-billion contingency fund.
  • He reined in mortgages
    CP
    Flaherty took measures four times in four years to rein in Canada’s overheated housing market to bring it back from the brink of a bubble. He publicly took on banks that he felt were exercising what he believed to be irresponsible lending practices and made it harder for people to take on mortgages that could leave them in over their heads.
  • He fought corporate Canada over income trusts
    CP
    In 2006, Flaherty made a controversial move to end tax exemptions for income trusts and said they’d be taxed the same way as corporations. In doing so, he broke a campaign promise to corporate Canada, who thought they had found a new shelter in trusts. The TSX lost more than 10 per cent of its value in the ensuing months.
  • He helped transform Ontario in the 1990s
    CP
    Before his time in federal office, Jim Flaherty was a soldier in Ontario’s Common Sense Revolution under Premier Mike Harris. He held various roles including labour minister, attorney general and finance minister, during a time of tense union politics.
  • He launched Tax-Free Savings Accounts
    Shutterstock
    The Whitby-Oshawa MP introduced the popular Tax-Free Savings Accounts, giving Canadians another incentive to save for retirement. The program was lauded when launched in the 2008 budget and Flaherty promised to double the contribution limit once the budget was balanced.
  • He launched the Registered Disability Savings Plan
    Getty
    Flaherty was instrumental in the 2007 introduction of the Registered Disability Savings Plan, a long-term plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families save for a secure future. The usually stoic politician was emotional during a 2011 announcement of a government review of the program. His son John suffers a learning disability and has participated in the Special Olympics.
  • He introduced the Home Renovation Tax Credit
    Alamy
    The tax back plan was introduced in the recession-era budget of 2009 to put a little more cash in consumers’ wallets and stimulate the all-important housing and construction industries.
  • He questioned a key Harper promise
    Getty
    Flaherty’s memorable moves are not all in the past. During his last days in office he very publicly and candidly questioned a Conservative election promise to introduce a tax policy would allow one spouse to transfer part of their income to a lower earning partner in order to avoid falling into a higher tax bracket. He asked whether the Conservative campaign pledge to allow income splitting would benefit all Canadians, a question that is sure to be central to the next election campaign in 2015, given critics' assertions that income-splitting would mostly benefit the wealthy.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Jim Flaherty with his wife(left) after giving his speech at the Provincial Progressive Conservative Party Leadership Convention, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Mar. 22, 2002 Photo by Louie Palu/The Globe and Mail

  • Jim Flaherty posing with the Stanley Cup while on the campaign trail for the provincial PC leadership at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Feb. 26, 2002 Photo by Louie Palu/The Globe and Mail

  • Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidate, Jim Flaherty, on Feb. 27, 2002 Photo by Tibor Kolley / The Globe and Mail

  • At the Ontario Progressive Conservative Leadership debate, Chris Stockwell looks on as Jim Flaherty, left, gets some last minute touch-up to his make-up. Picture taken on Feb.27, 2002. Photo by Tibor Kolley

  • Jim Flaherty becomes new Ontario finance minister, after Ernie Eves resigned from the post. New cabinet members were sworn in today, February 8, 2001, at Queen's Park. Photo by Patti Gower / The Globe and Mail.

  • Jim Flaherty becomes new Ontario finance minister, after Ernie Eves resigned from the post. New cabinet members were sworn in today, February 8, 2001, at Queen's Park. Photo by Patti Gower / The Globe and Mail.

  • Sunday. Mar.18/07. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will deliver the budget in Ottawa tomorrow.During a pre-budget photo op, he purchased a pair of Canadian-made skates for his son John (16) at Blades Custom Skate Care Inc. in Whitby, Ont. The skates are CCM Reebok 9K pump skates. The total price including all taxes was $456.00. Before the photo op he was scrummed by the media. Pictures taken on Mar.15/ 2007 Photo by Tibor Kolley

  • Canadian Finance minister Jim Flaherty smiles as he takes part in a conference during a meeting of the Group of eight (G8) Finance in Lecce on June 12, 2009. World powers launched a project on the sidelines of G8 talks to develop vaccines against pneumococcal diseases as part of a new market-based mechanism for the developing world. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tables the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Thursday March 4, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

  • Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shows a green shoe as he shops in Ottawa on March 28, 2012 for a new pair of shoes as part of the tradition of budget day. The tradition holds that Ministers of Finance purchase or wear new shoes when the budget is delivered. AFP PHOTO/ROGERIO BARBOSA (Photo credit should read ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty successfully exits an igloo outside the Nunavut legislature in Iqaluit, Canada during a break in proceedings at the G7 Finance Ministers Meeting, February 6, 2010. Moments earlier Minister Flaherty dislodged a large piece of snow from the entry way of another smaller igloo as he attempted to exit. AFP PHOTO/ GEOFF ROBINS (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks to reporters at the Port of Montreal, Monday, September 27, 2010. Flaherty insists the government will be "fair and reasonable" in assisting stimulus projects that are supposed to be complete by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

  • Hanoi, VIET NAM: Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (R) meets with his Vietnamese counterpart Vu Van Ninh during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the APEC finances ministers' meeting held in Hanoi 07 September 2006. Pacific Rim finance ministers will this week push for renewed talks to free up global trade and pledge steps against terrorist financing, according to a draft of a joint statement. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • France's Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment Christine Lagarde (L), Canada's Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty (C) and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner attend the final press conference for the G7 Finance Ministers Meeting in Iqaluit, Canada, February 6, 2010. AFP PHOTO/ GEOFF ROBINS (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • From left: Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling watch as US President George W. Bush delivers a statement with G7 finance ministers and heads of international financial institutions October 11, 2008 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty poses for a photo following an interview in Ottawa on Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit

  • Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper enter the House of Commons on budget day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty appears during a news conference at the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, on Monday, May 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty holds the last penny struck in Canada at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday, May 4, 2012. Flaherty announced in the March budget that the coin would no longer be produced because the cost of making it is more than it's worth. He has estimated that the government will save $11 million a year. Ian Bennett, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, smiles at left. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods)

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty holds the last penny struck in Canada at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday, May 4, 2012. Flaherty announced in the March budget that the coin would no longer be produced because the cost of making it is more than it's worth. He has estimated that the government will save $11 million a year. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods)

  • Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty arrives for a G-20 dinner, during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund Thursday, April 18, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, left, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right look on as Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces funding for new subways in Toronto, Sunday, September 22, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

  • A emotional Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty listens to a speaker during an announcement in Ottawa, ON Friday October 21, 2011. (CP)

  • Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, March 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • The photo from the last tweet from Jim Flaherty's account.