Canada’s Minister of Finance from 2006 – 2014, this caring individual inspired all Canadians by his life of service to others.
Though small in stature, Jim Flaherty played a giant role during his years at Loyola High School between 1962 and 1966. Whether it was as class president, or as a member of the Sodality, or as a stalwart member of Loyola’s “Reach for the Top” team that competed successfully week after week on CBC television in Montreal, or centering a senior hockey team line flanked by Dave Humes and Barry Fisher, Jim Flaherty was the quintessential Loyola High School student. In addition to his many extra-curricular activities, Jim Flaherty excelled academically in the honours-arts program – a stellar preparation for his future contribution as Canada’s Minister of Finance. It is no wonder that upon graduation from Loyola High School, he was offered and accepted a full scholarship to attend Princeton University.
Jim was very aware of all that Loyola had done for him and he once told a reporter that Loyola High School formed him intellectually, physically and spiritually and that he carried the Jesuit principles of hard work, self-reliance and service to others with him for the rest of his life.
Jim Flaherty was more than one of Canada’s great Ministers of Finance. He was a faithful, present and supportive spouse and an engaged father. Inspired by the life-threatening challenges and subsequent health-related problems endured by his son John, Jim readily acknowledged that “… John gave us context about what really matters.” As a result of living through, and with, this challenge with John and the rest of the family, Jim worked tirelessly to promote the cause of disabled persons. He was instrumental in the creation of the Abilities Centre that opened its doors in 2012 in his home riding of Whitby. He lent his support to the Special Olympics, as did two of his sons, Galen and Quinn, both coaches for the movement. As Minister of Finance, he created the Registered Disability Savings Program, which makes use of the tax system to create more independence for the disabled.
Shortly after he had been appointed Minister of Finance, Loyola High School invited Jim Flaherty to give the commencement address to the graduating class of 2007. True to himself and to the formation he had received at Loyola forty years before, Jim focused his address on the graduates’ social responsibilities to society.
Given his exemplary leadership and his consistent adherence, both in his public and personal life, to the principles and practices instilled in him as a student at Loyola, the Selection Committee recommended that Jim Flaherty be inducted to the Loyola High School Hall of Merit.