Canada finance minister keen to stay as cabinet shuffle looms

Tue May 28, 2013 12:30pm EDT
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has no plans to quit and has received no indication that his job is in jeopardy ahead of a cabinet reshuffling, his chief spokesman said on Tuesday.

Flaherty's poor health - he suffers from a rare skin disease - has fueled speculation in recent months that he would step down. But Dan Miles, his director of communications, said Flaherty was feeling much better these days.

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to revamp his cabinet by July, but "if Jim Flaherty has anything to say about it, finance is not in play," Miles told Reuters.

Miles said he and Flaherty discussed the minister's plans over lunch on Saturday and that he wanted to pre-empt any media reports that Flaherty wanted to retire.

"I've spoken to him directly, and he's telling me he has no plans to leave," said Miles.

Flaherty has said publicly on numerous occasions that he intends to remain finance minister until the federal government eliminates its budget deficit, a goal set for 2015, ahead of the next election.

The ultimate decision is, of course, up to Harper.

"If the prime minister decided ultimately that he wants to make a change, that's his prerogative," said Miles. "But at this point, there's nothing to suggest that there's going to be a change."   Continued...

Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty arrives for the Global Investment Conference 2013 in London May 9, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor