"We have lost a partner in politics, but you have lost a partner in life," says Harper, to Flaherty's family.
Harper says Flaherty was highly principled but ruthlessly pragmatic. Combative, but sympathetic. Hard-headed, but soft-hearted. A biting temper, but a gentle sense of humour.
"He often strode like a giant" on the world stage.
He wasn't a contradictory person, says Harper, but "the whole package."
"Liked by his enemies. That's something in this business. That's something I envy. I can't even get my friends to like me," says Harper, to laughter.
"No single figure in the life of this country has done more for the disabled," says Harper. He says the location of yesterday's visitation in Durham, the Abilities Centre, was dismissed by some as a pork-barrel project. But look at it now, he says. No one's saying that anymore.
Harper recalls their first meeting about Flaherty entering federal politics. At first, Harper says, Flaherty "was reticent" about the finance portfolio. "It wasn't long before he decided he'd never let go of it." More laughter.
"We WASPs sometimes define an Irishman as someone who may not know where he stands, but he always stands up to fight for it." More laughter. Harper's smiling broadly, in remembrance.
Harper now recalls Flaherty's role in the government's stimulus spending in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008-09.
Harper's undertaking a full-blown defence of Flaherty's political record during the financial crisis. "Today, in an uncertain world, Canada will have a balanced budget years ahead of others," and low taxes, and solid financial footing, Harper emphasizes. You'd almost expect to hear applause after a line like that.
Flaherty was interested in stepping down as early as 2010, Harper says. He wanted to earn more money and provide his family financial security. But he wouldn't step down until he'd contributed to a balanced federal budget.
The last couple of years were "sometimes hard to watch," says Harper, who adds that Flaherty was always on his game when need be.
Harper pauses, gathers himself, and delivers a message to "the boys", as Flaherty called his three sons.
After his own father died 11 years ago, Harper reflected. "I came to appreciate my father's place in my life probably more fully and deeply than if he were still here. It was all good," he says. "You are no longer the boys. You're young men. Hold on to your mother. Hold on to your father's lessons."
Norah Flaherty, Jim's sister, speaks on behalf of all of her brothers and sisters. "I'm thinking now that Jimmy's looking down on me and thinking I have a tough act to follow."
Flaherty was Jimmy, Jimbo, even Zoomie—though Norah can't explain that last nickname. To their mother, he was James (and, of course, "My Finance Minister"—no one else's).
Norah recalls a telling quote: "Sometimes life is just like hockey. If they hit you, you hit them back."
Norah recalls Jim throwing out pennies because he thought they were worthless. "Somewhat prophetic," she quips.
Norah finishes, and takes her seat. Now, his wife, MPP Christine Elliott, and three sons take to the podium.
March 12, 1991 was the most important day in Flaherty's life, says his son, Quinn. That's when his three boys were born.
Quinn says friendship, family, faith, and love guide his family. "We'll take it from here," he concludes.
Galen is up next. Many people knew Flaherty by many names, but he was just Dad to the boys.
"As a kid, I would watch his every move, and sometimes I'd even listen to him." There are two Jims, he says: the relaxed version, and the slightly less relaxed version.
"He was a politician because he loves his country," says Quinn. "He was my father because he showed me what it takes to be a man."
Christine Elliott speaks next. He was "driven, intense, a perfectionist."
"Your father loved you completely. You were the centre of his universe," Christine tells her boys.
"Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Everything is as it was." The opening lines of an Irish prayer Elliott recites.
Elliott concludes, and the family leaves the podium.
Flaherty's friend, Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, now takes to a podium for a reading.
Leitch finishes, presses a hand to Flaherty's flag-draped casket, and takes a seat.
Pallbearers now remove the flag from Flaherty's casket and fold it.
Harper accepts the flag and delivers it to Elliott, a few feet away.
Mounties salute Flaherty's casket, now loaded into a waiting hearse.
The state funeral has now concluded.