It is with great reluctance that today I accepted the resignation from cabinet of Jim Flaherty, minister of finance, so that he can eventually return to the private sector.
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 G7 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.
On behalf of cabinet, members of Parliament and all Canadians, I thank Minister Flaherty for his long and dedicated service to his constituents and to Canada. We wish him and his family well as he begins the transition to private life.
In the coming days I will announce Minister Flaherty's replacement.