Early signs of Liberal leadership ambitions as Freeland biography in works

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland make their way to a press conference in Ottawa on April 20.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will be the subject of a new biography that the author calls a portrait of “the most powerful woman in Canadian politics” and a possible successor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Katherine Tsalikis’ book will nurture a growing belief within the Liberal Party that Canada’s first female finance minister is preparing to step down as prime minister – even though Trudeau says it will take twice as long to win majority governments. If he fails, he will run in the next election.

Ms Salikis, who writes on foreign affairs and gender equality, said the biography is set to be published in the fall of 2023, but could be released earlier if there is a liberal leadership race and Freeland has put her hat in the ring. thrown.

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“It will be interesting if she decides to run for the leadership of the Liberals, and I think people will want to know more about her story – where she came from, what she stands for, and what kind of leader she is.” Maybe,” Ms Salikis said in an interview.

Some in government are seeing early signs that Freeland wants the top job. A senior government source pointed to a letter Ms Freeland wrote to Air Canada’s board of directors earlier this month after chief executive Michael Rousseau admitted that he did not speak French despite living in Montreal for 14 years. . Ms Freeland urged the Board to instruct Mr Rousseau to improve his knowledge of one of Canada’s two official languages ​​and to include it in his annual performance review.

The government source said the Air Canada letter – which could help boost Ms Freeland’s reputation in Quebec – appeared to some in the prime minister’s office as clear evidence that she intended to seek party leadership. Mr. Trudeau should step down.

The source was not identified because they were not authorized to speak about the relationship between Freeland and Trudeau’s office.

Ms Salikis said Ms Freeland is aware the book is being published by the House of Anansi Press, but has not yet agreed to sit for interviews.

“She has always been the most attractive person to me. We don’t have so many women who reach such positions of power in Canada,” she said. “I want to delve a little deeper into her story and why she was so successful in politics. Why is it?”

A senior Liberal MP told The Granthshala that Ms Freeland has become more responsive to backbenchers since the September 20 election. Another Liberal source said Ms Freeland now returns calls from lawmakers more quickly.

The Granthshala is not identifying sources because they will only speak on background about a potential leadership race.

Ms Freeland is not the only hopeful leadership. According to three Quebec Liberal insiders, newly named Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie, who co-chairs the Liberal Party’s national election campaign, has a network of loyalists in Quebec to run for a potential leadership.

During the campaign, insiders said, Ms Jolie used her influence to hire prominent people throughout Quebec as regional organizers, including supporters of her failed run for mayor of Montreal in 2013. One is Philippe LaFrance, who was among the students of Quebec. Strike in 2012 and once worked for Party Québécois. A Quebec Liberal source said Mr LaFrance has the potential to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to help Ms Jolie in any leadership bid.

MPs also point to a campaign program to launch Ms Jolie’s local platform in Montreal this August. She also listed several local Liberal candidates to show – a sign to some that she was laying the groundwork for the future.

A source close to innovation minister François-Philippe Champagne said he also wants to run for leadership, but has not formed an informal team or organized an event yet. The Granthshala is not identifying a source who was not authorized to speak about Mr Champagne’s leadership ambitions.

Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada, is often cited as a potential leadership aspirant with the intellectual and economic experience to present a serious challenge to Ms Freeland.

Some liberals were disappointed that he did not run for Ottawa’s ride in the last election. But a senior Liberal on Bay Street said Mr Carney was wiser in the exit – it was better for him to focus on building his national and international reputation on climate change and the economy. If Trudeau steps down in two or three years, Mr Carney could position himself as a potential leader with the skills to manage the economy without any political burden. The Granthshala is not identifying the source because they were not authorized to speak about Mr Carney’s political ambitions.

And two well-established liberals say Frank Bayliss, a wealthy medical technology tycoon, is also talking to lawmakers about a possible race for leadership. Mr Bayliss won the Montreal-area federal seat in 2015, but did not seek re-election in 2019. The Granthshala is not identifying sources that were not authorized to discuss Mr Bellis’s potential interest in the Liberal leadership.

Mr Bayliss said people are asking him what he plans to do next after selling part of his business operations – including whether he will ever return to politics. However, he said that he is still busy with his remaining businesses. “I’m relying on my eyes right now. Would I ever say no to politics? No, of course I never would, but I’m not seeing anything right now.”

Find out what’s happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary, handpicked by Granthshala editors (clients only). ,

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