Flaherty reveals battle with skin disease in bid to quiet rumours

Rare skin disease requires steroid treatment.

OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has gone public in a deeply personal interview with The Globe and Mail to explain some recent dramatic changes to his looks.

Flaherty has lately found himself fielding questions from colleagues and others about his health and the noticeable change to his appearance.

His face has grown bloated and puffy and he’s gained a significant amount of weight.

To quell concerns, Flaherty gave an interview to The Globe and Mail, explaining that he has a rare skin disease (called bullous pemphigoid) that requires strong steroid treatment.

Flaherty, 63, said while he is reluctant to speak about his health, he wants to assure Canadians that neither the condition nor the medication affects his ability to do his job as federal treasurer.

Pemphigoid is a rare blistering skin disorder that can produce lesions on parts of the body.

The MP for Whitby-Oshawa spoke to The Globe in his Parliament Hill office on Wednesday and the report said he appeared uncomfortable divulging details on such a private matter.

“Most people are quite cautious about what they say, but a few people have said to me, ‘Do you have cancer? … What’s going on? Are you going to die?’ That kind of thing,” he said.

“And, obviously, I am not. I mean, I will die eventually, but not over a dermatological issue.”

Flaherty said he informed Prime Minister Stephen Harper of his condition and treatment last year before Christmas.