Joe Oliver sworn in as finance minister

Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 6:12 PM ET

OTTAWA - Joe Oliver is Canada's new finance minister, taking his oath Wednesday at a private ceremony inside Rideau Hall.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted:

Oliver had held the natural resources portfolio since 2011, but has now taken over for Jim Flaherty, who had been finance minister since the Conservatives formed a government in 2006.

Flaherty resigned from cabinet Tuesday afternoon, the first step before retiring from politics altogether.

The bilingual Oliver will be 74 in May and brings a wealth of financial experience to his new job, having worked as an investment banker and as executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission. As a Toronto MP, Oliver can also continue to give the Conservatives some political heft in what will be a key battleground for the 2015 federal election.

Northern Ontario MP Greg Rickford has been sworn in as natural resources minister.

Backbencher Ed Holder from London, Ont., received a major promotion by taking over from Rickford as minister of state for science and technology.

Oliver didn't speak to the media waiting outside Rideau Hall after his swearing-in, but the minister did grant an interview to BNN later in the day.

Asked about the Conservatives' 2011 campaign promise to introduce income splitting for parents of young children and teens, Oliver said the government "will honour our platform commitments."

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair reacted to Oliver's appointment by going on the attack

"Joe Oliver is an embarrassing nomination as minister of finance for a G7 country like Canada," said Mulcair. "Stephen Harper likes his hand-puppets to be obedient, and in Joe Oliver he'll get exactly what he wants."

As natural resource minister, Oliver angered the NDP by criticizing "radicals" who opposed oilsands development and pipeline construction.

He has also butted heads with the NDP over the Keystone XL pipeline - a project Oliver has staunchly defended, but that some New Democrat MPs went to Washington D.C. to criticize.

Mulcair said he hopes Rickford somehow takes a completely different approach from Oliver on the natural resources portfolio.

"So, let's hope that Mr. Rickford can correct some of the things that Joe Oliver has been getting wrong, and I wish him well in the job," he said.

Oliver's office said it wouldn't respond to Mulcair's torrent of criticism.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel came to Oliver's defence.

"He's a smart guy," Rempel said. "I think he does have a vision in terms of how Canada's economy can continue to grow and prosper, and I have full confidence in him."

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, had a more muted reaction to Oliver's appointment.

His office sent out a news release questioning Oliver's record as natural resources minister, but also noting that he now has a responsibility to make sure economic growth "is sustainable and will finally help struggling middle class families."

The Grits also called on Oliver to "reverse the infrastructure cuts" for cities and towns in Canada.


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