Here I must trespass on the impolite, and I'll begin by restoring to the record the excised bits in which Jim Flaherty was a soldier of Mike Harris's "Common Sense Revolution." The idea that he was a non-ideological moderate would have been laughed out of the room, even by the man himself. Moderate was an insult he applied to his leadership rival, that pink and pale McGuinty imitation Ernie Eves. As Ontario's Attorney General and Finance Minister, Flaherty was one of Harris's most consistent and reliable true believers, mocked (like Harris himself) for applying his tough-on-crime universal restorative elixir to homelessness and poverty.
State funerals are expensive -- Layton's cost taxpayers nearly $370 grand -- so it behooves us to set some ground rules. If our new standard is simply to honor the passing of any politician who's "important" according to the fancy of the prime minister of the day, the practice -- and price tag -- is in deep danger of ballooning out of control. A difficult decision to make? Perhaps. But establishing clear rules today will sure be a lot easier than turning down a grieving family tomorrow.