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Canada gets new finance minister

Former natural resources minister and investment banker Joe Oliver has been sworn in as Canada’s finance minister, a day after Jim Flaherty resigned.

Mr Oliver was chosen by PM Stephen Harper to assume the role on Wednesday.

Mr Flaherty, 64, said he planned to return to the private sector after eight years as finance minister.

Mr Oliver, 73, served as the government’s point man on the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, currently under review in the US.

“I’m honored that Prime Minister Harper has appointed me to continue on our low-tax plan for jobs and growth,” Mr Oliver wrote in a statement.

Mr Harper wrote on Twitter that Mr Oliver, a Conservative MP from Ontario, “will continue to strengthen the economy and balance the budget by 2015″.

But the Canadian prime minister, also a Conservative, is said to have accepted Mr Flaherty’s resignation “with great reluctance”.

He had been the third-longest serving finance minister in Canada’s history.

Mr Flaherty has said his decision is not related to his health – he has been treated for a rare skin disease over the past year.

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