he should have been fired. Those aren't my words, they're Thomas Mulcair's, spoken just last year in Question Period. Yet after the former Finance Minister's death, Mulcair has called him a good man and a great public servant.
There's no doubt that the NDP Leader genuinely mourns the loss of Jim Flaherty, but this recent death and the response to it by all politicians, not just Mulcair, shows the real tragedy of a political life.
Because it's only now, after resorting to the lowest denominator in attacks against Mr.Flaherty for his whole political career, are his opponents speaking highly of him. It is only now after Flaherty's curtain has fallen that all the other actors are describing how they truly felt about him.
What makes this all the more sad is that what Mr.Flaherty's opponents actually thought of him was the exact opposite of what they said to him while he was alive.
Can you imagine, if we are so lucky to have an after life, spending your whole career having opponents level the most sensationalistic attacks against you and after you have gone, and only then, finding out how much those same harsh critics respected you, how much they liked you, and even seeing them cry from hearing about your death?
Now we can say that as a politician Jim Flaherty certainly knew that much of politics is a performance, that he knew the daily attacks he faced as finance minister for eight years were disingenuous, merely for show. But in hearing such words of admiration and respect for Jim Flaherty after he has gone, one cannot say he came close to knowing how highly his opponents thought of him. And that is a tragedy. A horrible unnecessary tragedy.
Jim Flaherty's death highlights the absolute worst thing about politics. It's not the broken promises, it's not the partisanship or the boondoggles, the worst part of politics is that it is a performance that its actors never betray with their true feelings.
But of course, politicians aren't the only ones to lose themselves in their roles. How often in life do we all forget to tell those around us, not just our loved ones, but our adversaries too, how we truly feel about them and how grateful we are for them to be a part of our lives.
Just as Justin Trudeau should admit to Stephen Harper he respects him tremendously and is thankful for what he done for this country (and vice versa), we all should tell those we occasionally fight with, that we care for them and want them to be happy.
In this life we are all performers in one way or the other, but in reflecting on Jim Flaherty's passing, let us in the future not wait until a curtain falls to applaud the other actors.
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances."
Jim Flaherty stood before the audience, he smiled, bowed, and the curtain closed.