New job for Joe?

Natural Resources Minister Oliver expected to take the reigns of vacant finance file.

OTTAWA – Sources say Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is in line to become the federal Conservative government’s new finance minister job after Jim Flaherty resigned Mar. 18 ahead of a return to the private sector.

The Prime Minister’s Office hasn’t confirmed Oliver’s promotion, but the 73-year-old cancelled an event he had scheduled in BC to fly back to Ottawa.

Oliver is widely respected within the Harper cabinet and among Conservatives, and is known on Bay Street, having spent decades working there as an investment banker.

Oliver has a much different demeanour than Flaherty though, and is often gruff and highly partisan.

Flaherty has been the only finance minister the Harper Conservatives have had since they came to power eight years ago.

Flaherty has said his decision to resign was made with his family earlier this year and is unrelated to a rare skin condition that requires him to take medication that led to weight gain and apparent fatigue.

An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said Flaherty would be retaining – at least for now – his seat in the House of Commons, meaning he remains an MP for the time being.

Observers have said whoever takes over from Flaherty will have their work cut out for them.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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