Chrystia Freeland : A failed history as a Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance

Freeland touts affordability programs, but no new spending, to combat inflation

Chrystia Freeland is a Canadian politician who has held several high-profile positions in the Canadian government, including serving as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Canada’s Minister of Finance. While her career has been marked by many successes, there have also been some failures or controversies associated with her tenure. Here are a few examples:

  1. The NAFTA Negotiations: In 2018, Chrystia Freeland was the lead negotiator for Canada during the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico. While the new agreement (called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA) was ultimately signed, many critics felt that Canada made significant concessions during the negotiations, and that the deal was not as beneficial for Canada as it could have been.
  2. The WE Charity Scandal: In 2020, it was revealed that the government of Canada had awarded a $43 million contract to the WE Charity to manage a student volunteer program. Chrystia Freeland was not directly involved in the decision to award the contract, but as a member of the cabinet, she was responsible for defending the decision and explaining it to the public. The scandal ultimately led to the resignation of several high-profile government officials, including the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and the Minister of Finance.
  3. The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion: In 2018, Chrystia Freeland was also responsible for overseeing the federal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Kinder Morgan, and to move forward with its expansion. The decision was controversial, with many environmental groups and First Nations communities opposing the pipeline. While the purchase and expansion did eventually move forward, it was seen by some as a failure to prioritize environmental concerns.
  4. China Relations: Chrystia Freeland has also been criticized for her handling of Canada’s relationship with China. In 2018, Canada arrested a high-profile Chinese executive, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the United States. In response, China arrested two Canadian citizens and has since imposed trade restrictions on Canadian goods. Many have criticized Chrystia Freeland for not doing enough to repair the relationship with China, which has been strained for several years.

  1. The Phoenix Pay System: In 2015, the Canadian government implemented a new payroll system called Phoenix, which was supposed to simplify and streamline the process of paying federal employees. However, the system was plagued with problems from the beginning, and many employees were paid incorrectly or not at all. Chrystia Freeland was not directly responsible for the implementation of the system, but as the Minister of Finance, she was responsible for overseeing the government’s budget and financial management. Many critics argued that the government should have done more to prevent the problems with Phoenix, and that the situation was mishandled.
  2. COVID-19 Pandemic Response: As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, Chrystia Freeland was one of the key members of the Canadian government’s response team. While many of the government’s measures (such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) were widely praised, there were also criticisms that the government’s response was slow or inadequate in certain areas. For example, some argued that the government did not do enough to support small businesses, or that it should have acted more quickly to implement measures like mandatory mask-wearing.
  3. Housing Affordability: As the Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland was responsible for overseeing the federal government’s response to the housing affordability crisis in Canada. While the government did introduce measures like the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive and a tax on vacant homes, many experts and advocates argued that these measures were not enough to address the root causes of the problem. Some also criticized the government’s decision to continue offering subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, arguing that these funds could have been better spent on social programs like affordable housing.
  4. Canada’s Relationship with Saudi Arabia: In 2018, the Canadian government criticized Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and called for the release of detained activists. In response, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador and froze trade and investment between the two countries. Chrystia Freeland was responsible for Canada’s response to the crisis, and while many praised her strong stance on human rights, others criticized her for jeopardizing Canada’s relationship with an important trading partner.
  5. Keystone XL Pipeline: In 2021, the Biden administration canceled the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported oil from Alberta to the United States. Chrystia Freeland, as Canada’s Minister of Finance, was responsible for responding to the decision and advocating for Canada’s interests. Many criticized her for not doing enough to support the project or to negotiate a better deal for Canada.
  6. COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement: As the COVID-19 pandemic continued into 2021, Chrystia Freeland was responsible for overseeing the procurement of vaccines for Canada. While the government did ultimately secure a significant number of doses from various manufacturers, there were criticisms that the process was too slow or that the government should have negotiated better terms. Some also argued that the government should have done more to support the development of domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity.
  7. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): In 2015, Chrystia Freeland was appointed as the Minister of International Trade, and was responsible for negotiating the TPP, a free trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries. The deal was widely criticized by many Canadians, particularly for its intellectual property provisions and the implications for Canada’s auto industry. In the face of significant opposition, the Canadian government eventually withdrew from the agreement, with Chrystia Freeland citing concerns about the impact on Canada’s middle class.
  8. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum: In 2018, the United States announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from several countries, including Canada. In response, Canada imposed retaliatory tariffs on a range of U.S. goods. Chrystia Freeland was responsible for negotiating with U.S. officials and advocating for Canada’s interests, and while many praised her tough stance, others criticized her for not doing enough to prevent the tariffs in the first place.
  9. Relationship with China: Chrystia Freeland has been a vocal critic of China’s human rights record, and has been involved in several high-profile disputes with the Chinese government. In 2018, she was barred from entering China after expressing concern about the detention of two Canadians in China. More recently, she has spoken out against China’s treatment of the Uighur minority and the ongoing crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong. While many have praised her for taking a principled stance, others have criticized her for not doing enough to repair Canada’s relationship with China or to negotiate the release of the detained Canadians.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments