Posts Tagged ‘Chrystia Freeland’

Write Big or Go Home.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

If you expect a federal budget in the April timeframe, you might be guessing right. There are still arguments against it but the scenario is an April budget and a May call for the election that will be held in June. Finance minister Freeland has a serious task to deliver that budget. Much hangs on it.

And the budget has to be reasonable, doable and responsible. It has to present an open and exciting era of opportunity for all Canadians. It needs to build better and ensure a stronger economy in the outcomes. It has to reflect on what she has heard from Canadians from former Bank of Canada governor and former Bank of England governor Mark Carney to the man-on-the-street.

Chrystia Freeland has to consider infrastructure needs and opportunities. She has opportunities for public-private partnerships. She can borrow at low rates and pay back in inflated dollars. She can expand upon the current Ontario plan to electrify the commuter trains bringing people into the Golden Horseshoe by launching of high-speed rail in Canada in, at least, the Quebec City and Ottawa to Windsor corridor.

She has to recognize that her budget will have to survive the sniffs of the conservatives, the venom of the new democrats, the Holier-than-thou derision of the Greens and the scatological comments of the Bloc. And she will need support from the man-on-the-street to survive the attacks.

She knows this is no ordinary budget. The continued reign of the Trudeau liberals depends on her. Her conundrum is that her continued success is tied to Trudeau. Adrift in a sea of conservative blue is no place for an aspiring new liberal leader.

And I have one final word of advice for Chrystia Freeland. I expect you will have a fairly extensive budget proposal to put before Canadians but if you, even once, use the words ‘middle-class Canadians,’ they will turn on you like wolves enjoying their dinner. Those words will label you for all time to be a political hack. You will lose credibility. Be honest with yourself and Canadians.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Is it cruel to fool O’Toole?

Friday, January 29th, 2021

Is finance minister Chrystia Freeland deliberately fooling conservative leader Erin O’Toole? It seems like she has more important tasks ahead of her. Maybe she is forging ahead with her plans and ignoring what O’Toole has to say. He accuses her of ideological and a reckless budgeting. She might be one of the first liberal finance ministers to ever do that.

Her problem is that she has far too many claimants wanting a piece of the finance action. First, she has to budget for ending the pandemic with foreign-made vaccines and then she has to build a better country for the survivors.

The main difference between Freeland and O’Toole is that he thinks we should rebuild the country to where it was before the pandemic. Freeland believes we should build better.

We all seem to have our own idea of what this means. I am sure many of us would put the emphasis on raising our peoples to greater heights of achievement. We need to ensure each and every one of us of sufficient funds and opportunity to learn and to work at what brings us fulfilment.

But I also believe that if we have a few billions left over in this budget, we need high-speed trains to reach from sea to sea. High-speed electric trains are an ecological solution to the heavy pollution of planes and road transport. It means building new track beds and overpasses in every province of Canada.

And finance minister Freeland should make a point of talking about this to president Biden’s treasury secretary Janet Yellen. The U.S. is currently on the brink of building more high-speed electrified train service—if Biden can stop the political interference by those who want to continue the use of fossil fuels.

It looks like the use of fossil fuels is the main challenge to both Biden and Trudeau. They have strong and well-funded opposition. Alberta remains Trudeau’s nemesis and it will take a while for the average Albertan to realize that the future is in thermal energy from the earth not in tar sands that pollute so much. Biden made a good start by cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline. All Trudeau has to do is cancel the twinning of the TransMountain pipeline.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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The ‘Right’ advice for Freeland.

Monday, September 21st, 2020

It seems guaranteed that the liberals will introduce an extensive plan for child care on Wednesday. There are two factors pushing Chrystia Freeland in this direction. The first is the growing concern about a second wave of the pandemic and then the right-wing advice that she has been getting from previous liberal finance ministers. If she is listening to them, she will be shrugging off her chance to make a bold mark as Canada’s first female finance minister.

But what would you expect by way of advice by three of the most right-wing liberal finance ministers in the past 30 years?

Paul Martin set the stage in the 1990s with his draconian effort to produce a balanced budget by getting the money from Medicare. His right-wing style made Stephen Harper much more acceptable as prime minister but not to the extent then of giving him a majority government.

Former MP Paul Manley was another of the right-wing finance ministers consulted. He gave the advice that it was fun to spend money but less fun to have to shut something down (to pay the bills).

Long-serving Ralph Goodale did not divulge his advice but told the news media that Freeland is a highly consultative person. He did agree that child care spending adds both economic and social benefits. He sees this funding as contributing to gender equality and gender fairness.

The upshot of all this advice is that we are expecting a less innovative speech from the Governor General. It looks as though Jagmeet Singh and his NDP will have to settle for promises we have all heard before.

There will be less innovation and less greening of our environment. Be prepared to be disappointed.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Building bridges west?

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

I am not a fan of Toronto member of parliament Chrystia Freeland. While properly impressed by both her CV as a journalist and her books, I do not see her as a politician or deputy prime minister. I do not think she understands Donald Trump, Jason Kenney or Justin Trudeau. She might not be working to her strengths.

Maybe the answer to her is the answer to the question, ‘Why is she in politics?’ The answer could also shed some light on her appointment to be some sort of a go-between for the West. Her bridges seem tenuous.

Jason Kenney has his political agenda and it is fair to ask if Ms. Freeland understands it? If she does, good on her! What is she going to do about it? Kenney is looking for a political answer and neither the prime minister nor his deputy has that political answer. Does Kenney think they would be foolish enough to give in to all he demands? Those demands could destroy Alberta as a liveable part of this country.

And please do not suggest that Ms. Freeland got NAFTA(2) up and ready to run by understanding Donald Trump. She got that job done by working around Trump. Could he even pick her out of a line-up?

And will somebody please tell us where Chrystia Freeland was hiding during that SNC-Lavalin fiasco early this year? She might not have seen it as her place to intervene, but she was a senior cabinet member back then. You cannot tell us that nobody in that cabinet last winter could see where the Wilson-Raybould fiasco was taking them.

And that leaves us with the relationship of Ms. Freeland and her boss. Her appointment was hardly to add a female to his cabinet, we hope. He promised a gender-balanced cabinet and the word is that someone counted and said, ‘Yep, it’s half women.’ And now we know where some of those creative portfolio titles came from.

Anyone who puts gender ahead of competence is headed for trouble. And, there is the rub: Justin Trudeau’s lack of political smarts also spells trouble. It is hard to imagine his government lasting a year before we are into a new election.

We live in interesting times.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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