Since her arrival in politics in 2015, Chrystia Freeland has established herself as a star player in Justin Trudeau’s team.
In a Cabinet that is likely to find a living in the shadow of the heralded current Prime Minister, Mr.ME Freeland is unique because of its visibility. Before him, no holder of the title of Deputy Prime Minister enjoyed such influence. But in the current economic context, is the Minister of Finance the right person in the right place?
The service record that drives MME Freeland’s involvement in the finance branch of the federal government is well documented. In International Trade, he led the ratification of a major free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. In Foreign Affairs, he led the dangerous renegotiation of NAFTA in the Trump administration. If the Trudeau government has done well in these two sensitive files for the Canadian economy, it is largely thanks to him.
Domestically, the federal Liberals owe an unlikely friendship to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s not-so-fraught relationship with the ruling Conservatives in Toronto.
Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, we have fully gauged the breadth of the international network woven by Chrystia Freeland. In the recent visit of the German Chancellor to Canada, the Deputy Prime Minister and not Mr. Trudeau greeted him at the Montreal-Trudeau airport. We then witnessed a warm reunion rather than a ceremonial meeting. Before becoming Chancellor, Olaf Scholz held the same ministerial duties as Chrystia Freeland.
In terms of international relations, it is not always possible to say whether the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister learned their skills through contact with the other. They form a tandem that sometimes leaves little room for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly.
Of course, if MME If Freeland one day succeeds Justin Trudeau as leader of the Liberal Party and ultimately the government of Canada, Canada’s international partners will find themselves in familiar territory.
Except that in the meantime, Chrystia Freeland is not Canada’s prime minister or head of diplomacy, but actually the Minister of Finance. And the future of his government depends more on his performances on the Canadian economic scene than on international circuits.
First, the day-to-day survival of the Liberal minority government depends on its ability to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons at every stage of the budget process.
More importantly for the outcome of the election, the Liberal Party must absolutely continue to give hope not only to the major players in the economy, but to an electorate that is more concerned about inflation and the rising cost of living.
However, as Chrystia Freeland occupies more than her share of the earth in terms of foreign policy, she seems willing to leave room for the opposition in front of the economic scene.
The detachment that the Minister seems to encourage in his role at Finance contrasts with the continued interest he has shown in the international debate and the enthusiasm the Conservative Party has put into hitting the nail on the head with the economy.
You don’t have to have an economic bug to succeed as Prime Minister of Canada. In the same vein, a good career in finance is not necessarily a guarantee of success for a head of government. Think Paul Martin or Bernard Landry.
However, for a government to navigate effectively in turbulent economic waters, it needs not only a captain at the helm, but also a strong keel in the person leading the Finance Department.
In their respective times, the Mulroney/Wilson, Chrétien/Martin and even the Harper/Flaherty tandems have made a powerful contribution to establishing the economic credibility of the party in power in Ottawa in the minds of the public. In comparison, Trudeau and Freeland resemble each other more than they cooperate with each other.
When the Prime Minister appointed Chrystia Freeland to head the finance department two years ago, she wanted to make a big splash. Never before has the direction of federal economic policy been entrusted to a woman. For the minister, it was an offer he could not refuse. Too bad…
This column originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of NEwS, under the title “The woman in the situation? “.