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Will Jim Flaherty retire? What he has actually said

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks following the delivery of the budget on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 11, 2014.

BLAIR GABLE/REUTERS

Jim Flaherty is one of Canada's longest-serving finance ministers. He has been in public office since 1995, when he was first elected as an Ontario MPP and later served as the province's finance minister. He has been the federal finance minister since 2006 and has, by his count, delivered 10 budgets.

He has frequently said he wants to stay in his post until he can deliver a balanced budget, which, according to the Conservative government's current plans, would be next year's pre-election fiscal plan.

Casting aside speculation, this is what Mr. Flaherty has actually said in public comments.

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Jan. 31, 2013: Following questions of his health, Mr. Flaherty revealed to The Globe's Steven Chase that he had a rare and painful skin condition. In the interview, Mr. Chase asked Mr. Flaherty about his future.

You've said you want to stick around until the budget is balanced. Is this the kind of thing that would make you consider going early?

Flaherty: "No. Not this. I am a pretty tough guy. I'm an old hockey player. This will pass and it's much better now than it was before, so I have more confidence now that this will pass. I don't have any problem doing my budget work, which I have been doing, including all the month of January. I would still like to stay until the budget is balanced."

May 28, 2013: With expectations that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would soon shuffle his cabinet, Mr. Flaherty was again asked how long he would be in office.

"He's feeling better and he's invigorated and he's looking to advance the economic portfolio over the coming months and years ahead," Mr. Flaherty's director of communications Dan Miles told Mr. Chase. "He's ... crystal clear he has no intention of leaving."

Nov. 13, 2013: In a news conference after delivering the fall fiscal update, Mr. Flaherty said he does intend to run in the next election, The Globe's Bill Curry reported.

Feb. 11, 2014: In a budget lockup, Mr. Flaherty is asked whether, taking into account a contingency fund, he has already balanced the budget and can "retire happy." Mr. Flaherty talked about the contingency fund and said only that "Well, I know some people would like me to retire."

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Feb. 25, 2014: At a G20 meeting in Australia, Mr. Flaherty is again asked if he will run in the 2015 federal election. "We'll see. I haven't decided," he told a Reuters reporter. Mr. Flaherty was asked by a Globe reporter if he would deliver another budget. "Well, we're working toward a balanced budget. We're very close. I'd like to see the budget balanced," he said.

Chris Hannay is The Globe's digital politics editor.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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