Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks with reporters as he leaves question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Flaherty says he is leaving the federal cabinet and returning to the private sector.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
OTTAWA - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he is leaving the federal cabinet and returning to the private sector.
Flaherty delivered the bombshell news in a statement this afternoon.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement of his own, saying he had accepted Flaherty's decision "with great reluctance."
Flaherty, who represents the Ontario riding of Whitby-Oshawa, has been struggling with health challenges over the last year, but says he is on the road to a full recovery.
He says the decision to leave politics is unrelated to his health, but is instead simply "the right decision for me and my family at this time."
Flaherty, a former Ontario finance minister, has been in the federal Finance portfolio since 2006.