The passing of an infrastructure visionary

We at Infrastructure Investor were greatly saddened to learn of the recent death of Jim Flaherty at the age of 64. Canada’s former Finance Minister had stepped down from the post about a month before his passing. Reports attributed the death to a heart attack although the cause had not been officially announced at press time.

Flaherty was our Infrastructure Minister of the Year in 2011, and with good reason. He was instrumental in establishing public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Canada, he was at the forefront of finding ways to get Canadian pension funds more involved in the domestic market, he recognised the importance of urban infrastructure, and he was increasingly focused on the potential to develop infrastructure to transport commodities from the West of Canada to the East and to the US.

We had the pleasure of meeting with Flaherty in Ottawa’s Parliament building for a keynote interview for our February 2012 issue and found him to be welcoming and affable with a great sense of humour – as well as a clearly undiminished love for ice hockey from his younger playing days.

It was with a mischievous smile that he said – in the wake of the Crisis – the country needed to focus on building economic infrastructure rather than “more hockey rinks”. The smile perhaps indicated that he for one would never underestimate the value to the community of a hockey rink.