Saint-Sauveur, Quebec — A breathless account of Chrystia Freeland’s heroism in Ukraine was published over the weekend that may have put a smile on our deputy prime minister’s face.
According to the American University professor who wrote the glossy article, she was so good at what she did that she had the utter admiration of the KGB, which couldn’t keep up with her! The stuff of real-life Marvel heroes…
Let’s face it, Chrystia Freeland is setting herself up to take over as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and this type of campaign is designed to help her achieve that ambition.
Like Michael Ignatieff, Chrystia Freeland became famous almost south of the border with her writing and media savvy.
Unlike Ignatief, he has actually had experience running some important ministries in government, and most admirably, outfoxed Donald Trump during the NAFTA re-negotiations.
If she succeeds, she will take over from Justin Trudeau, one of the world’s leading media figures. A little profile doesn’t hurt.
Trudeau’s inexplicable decision to disappear for a holiday he had set aside to celebrate truth and reconciliation was more than just a heartless move. It was so damaging to their brand that many are wondering if it is not even a sign that they have eaten biscuits.
No doubt we will have an avalanche of “progressive” promises as Trudeau takes oath in his new cabinet and hands out mandates to a select few. It really won’t matter. Canadians have seen and heard a lot.
From buying pipelines to continuing subsidies to oil and gas companies, going out of town on a new national holiday to being satisfied with sexual misconduct in the military, Trudeau’s lectures and moral tone no longer carry much weight. Major progressive issues like climate change, reconciliation and women’s rights will need a new champion, one without the credibility issues Trudeau is now dragging with him.
In fact, it’s Freeland’s presence during Trudeau’s worst times, like the sacking of Jody Wilson-Raybould, that risks holding him back. She was not content to back Trudeau. When Wilson-Raybould opposes the PMO’s intervention in the prosecution of SNC Lavalin, Freeland attacks him for not being a team player!
Freeland wouldn’t get the top job without an investigation into his role as Trudeau’s proxy and the fight. There will be other contenders.
The most obvious one is the friendly and extraordinarily accomplished Mark Carney. Earlier this year at an event at l’Université de Montréal, where I teach, he was talented, generous with his time, and able to do the entire gig in French. I was impressed that during his long tenure as governor of the Bank of England in London he had somehow managed to retain his knowledge of Molire’s language. This guy’s got the game.
Carney recently published a work on Values (Very Progressive) and is a world leader on the issue of climate change and the economic transition. It is currently working at the highest level of the United Nations, deepening its contacts and developing experience and expertise in areas outside of central banking.
It promises to be one heck of a fight.
Freeland’s Rusophobe Bent He may get some good academic coverage but it is a problem on the world stage. Minority rights, language rights and segregation results in very real issues in the raging conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Canada can play a positive role with some of these issues with its own, admittedly much easier, experience. We are actually in Crimea due to an adult conversation about reality, which is not going to change. Freeland will never have a hard time playing that kind of positive role, so she’s convinced that Russo is the bad actor in every scene in the play.
Canada has always taken pride in being able to punch above our weight. A medium power with good PR and lots of friends. We have sadly ruined our previously good relations with China during the defeat of Meng/Trump. Do we want to have a more permanent enmity with a world power based on past grievances or are we able to be part of the solution?
Freeland is a Cold Warrior without a Cold War. Highly capable, she still carries with her six years’ worth of Trudeau’s broken promises and lack of achievement. Carney is a respected player on the world economic stage with a sterling track record. He resisted the strong call in last month’s election to be part of Team Trudeau and will come to it with a skill set to ride out the pandemic.
Not affected by any attachment to Trudeau’s lack of concrete results, Carney could have had an inside track. At the same time, his lack of experience in elected politics could prove to be decisive. Freeland is a fighter who enjoys the cut and thrust of electoral politics. Carney is nominated for the top job. In politics you have to struggle hard to become the leader of the party. This difference will be visible in their campaigns.
Of the five political parties with MPs in the House, only the Liberals have never had a female leader. Trudeau will do everything he can to help Freeland get his job if he decides to pack it up. Last week he attended a press conference with Trudeau on vaccinations for civil servants, even though it has nothing to do with his job as finance minister. . He may have failed on major feminist promises, but he’s going to try to leave Freeland’s leadership as part of his succession.
Tom Mulcair was the former leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada between 2012 and 2017.