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Team Canada’will roar and come back’

Not long ago, Chrystia Freeland had few friends at the White House.

During bumpy negotiations to overhaul the Nafta trade agreement involving the United States and Canada, Donald Trump informed it. He was not a fan Justin Trudeau’s then Foreign Minister and negotiator. While Freeland advertised the benefits of multilateralism and multiculturalism, the Trump administration sang “America First” and used trade tariffs as a means of foreign policy.

Now that Trump has left the White House, Freeland, 52, who became Canada’s Finance Minister last summer, wants to emphasize how happy the relationship between the United States and Canada has become.

She said she “has the highest respect possible” to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Janet Yellen has a “very good conversation” and “is philosophically well-matched in terms of economic thinking.”

Even the issue of vaccine exports — Biden booked a homemade jab for Americans while Canada’s vaccine imports were plagued by delays — Freeland sees half a glass full .. She says the new US administration was “very supportive” by agreeing to send 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca jab to Ottawa.

“We are very supportive of this administration,” she tells the Financial Times. “Everything, including vaccines.”

Foreign policy is one area of ​​collaboration that has brought relief to Ottawa. Both countries are wary of stubborn supporters of Vladimir’s sovereignty in Russia and Ukraine — Freeland is a descendant of Ukraine and is on the Kremlin’s sanctions list.

Biden’s administration is also Ottawa Michael Superber Michael Kovrig has been detained in China for more than two years in retaliation for Meng Wanzhou’s detention, an executive of Chinese technology group Huawei in Vancouver.

The clearest sign of new mutual understanding is the economic reaction of each country.Biden $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package Sure to boost Canada to send Three-quarters of For export to the United States. Political this gave Freeland the opportunity to persuade financially conservative Canadians to embrace a more Keynesian approach.

Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland attended a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden in February © Bloomberg

Freeland’s initial budget features new spending of $ 101 billion ($ 82 billion) over three years © Bloomberg

Freeland’s first budget, Outlined in AprilFeatures $ 100 billion ($ 82 billion) in new spending over three years. This measure puts a lifeline on businesses and workers and also funds long-term projects such as national childcare and early learning systems.

The first women to seize the purse of the G7 economy are loosening them — and expecting a rebound to improve their finances.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we took the view … This was a particular kind of depression, not an intrinsic economic shock, but a natural disaster, a wildfire, a flood. We suffered. I wanted to prevent misery, but it also had the economic purpose of preventing financial damage. What we observed during the 2009 recession was that scars slowed recovery. “

In this respect, Freeland is in line with the anti-austerity policy that has driven the Western government’s response to the blockade of Covid-19.She says she is influenced by the treatise Developed in 2019 Former IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard argued that the cost of public debt was lower than expected given that interest rates were generally below growth.

She also believes in a “high pressure economy” where strong consumer demand can drive corporate innovation and productivity.

She says this approach is paying off, as Canada’s economic resilience through the Covid crisis shows.Its central bank Revised The forecast for production growth this year is 6.5%, up 2.5 percentage points from the January estimate. Covid is “not yet conquered,” but she promises that “Canada will roar and come back.”

Freeland’s flagship budget reform is $ 30 billion in five-year funding to establish a national childcare and early learning program modeled on what is being done in Quebec.

Grace Skogstad, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said the plan is likely to come true because of the long-standing ambitions of the Liberal Party in Freeland and the federal government’s readiness to contribute.

The state system has “patchwork,” says Skogstad. “It’s a state ability. Some things in Quebec are good, some aren’t, and people need to use private care, so she says. [that] We, the federal government, need to fund it and impose some conditions on it. “

Freeland said, “I am a working mother and a feminist,” not only for “social and feminist reasons,” but also for the long-term economic benefits of having more women join the workforce. He states that he is driving this idea. “Since Nafta, we believe this could be the most important policy in terms of driving growth. It could boost our GDP by 1.2 percent,” she says.

Canada’s public debt is projected to reach 51.2% of GDP for all of these willingness to spend. This was 90.7% in the EU and 108% in the United States at the end of last year. Prudentness is part of Canada’s “wider political culture,” says Freeland.

The central bank recently reduced its monthly bond purchases for the first time in G7 countries. This is a support measure introduced a year ago to absorb the impact of the blockade. Freeland said: “We find a balance between ambition and boldness on one side and are careful and cautious on the other side.”

Canada has relied heavily on vaccine imports © Getty Images

The cloud over Canada’s recovery is protracted Third wave The number of infectious diseases caused by Covid-19 variants that overwhelmed hospitals and forced them to impose restrictions on migration and business activities in Ontario, the most populous state with a population of 15 million.

The sluggish vaccine deployment in Canada did not help. This is despite the fact that in November, every country boasted the highest number of vaccine orders per capita.

Import reliance has exposed Canada to turmoil in vaccine production and the tendency of countries to maintain locally produced doses. “We allowed the domestic bio-manufacturing capacity to erode,” says Freeland. But Canada is now “immunizing at a tremendous rate,” she says.

Health officials have allowed the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine — which was investigated in rare cases Blood clot — Everyone over 30 years old. Nearly four in ten Canadians receive at least one jab, including Trudeau. This is slightly faster than Germany and France, but lagging behind the United States and the United Kingdom.

Nonetheless, the pandemic has cemented Freeland’s reputation as an ally of Trudeau, who can tackle the most difficult challenges. He was a journalist for 20 years, primarily in the Financial Times in Moscow, London and New York, and entered Canadian politics in 2013, earning the nickname “All Ministers” for his influence.

Freeland turned to be the successor to Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister of Canada © Dave Chan / AFP via Getty Images

After the success of Freeland’s Nafta negotiations, Trudeau decided to handle the difficult relationship between her conservative Alberta and Saskatchewan states, the western states where the economy relies on fossil fuels. I asked for it. Later, when the coronavirus struck, he appointed her to head the Covid-19 Task Force.

“The Prime Minister is very confident in her abilities … She is a hard portfolio minister, not all ministers,” says Skogstad. “In her short period of politics, she didn’t stumble on any of them.”

Freeland is doing “homework,” says Scogstad. She reached “beyond party boundaries” during the Nafta talks and is “an incredible role model for women and how you do politics in Canada.”

Freeland may be more prominent, but can she be Trudeau’s successor? This is not certain. Trudeau is a junior for 3 years. According to Scogstad, he will first have to step away from the Liberal Party’s steering before Freeland’s leadership contest could confront people such as former Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

So far, the question that has plagued Ottawa’s politics is whether Trudeau, who has led the minority government since 2019, will demand an election this year. Opinion polls suggest that he can regain a majority in Congress. Analysts see Freeland’s generous budget as a stepping stone.

However, Freeland rejects the idea of ​​election operations while the country is tackling a ferocious third wave of infectious diseases. “It’s the biggest crisis since World War II,” she says. “What Canada needs now is a” Team Canada “approach. “

Team Canada’will roar and come back’

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