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Canada's longtime finance minister resigns
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty resigns from cabinet
By ROB GILLIES
Associated Press
2014-03-19 06:01 AM

TORONTO (AP) -- Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the longest serving finance minister among G7 nations and a fixture on the world financial stage, has resigned from his cabinet position.

Flaherty, who has had the job since 2006, said Tuesday he is returning to the private sector.

He has battled a rare skin disease over the last year but he said his decision to leave politics is not related.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government plans on entering an election next year with a budget surplus.

Canada's commodity-rich economy avoided the worst of the 2008 financial crisis and has fared better than other nations. There was no mortgage meltdown or subprime crisis in Canada, and Canada's banks are rated among the soundest in the world.

"My goal was always to get Canada back on track to a balanced budget after the large deficit we agreed was necessary in Budget 2009 to combat the Great Recession and protect Canadian jobs," Flaherty said. "I followed through on that commitment. There is no doubt that Canada's budget will be balanced in 2015. Canada's fiscal position is the envy of the developed world."

Harper said he had accepted Flaherty's decision "with great reluctance."

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