Amid a tumultuous year, Canada’s deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has made history becoming the country’s first ever female finance minister.
As one of Justin Trudeau’s most senior and respected ministers, 52-year old Freeland’s appointment came after Bill Morneau’s sudden resignation.
Along with the shuffle, Trudeau will suspend Parliament until September 23 in a bid to reset plans and priorities. The government will then formally deliver its legislative agenda through a speech from the throne for the next parliamentary session, as well as a “roadmap out of the pandemic” promised by the Prime Minister.
It is both an honour and a privilege to be named Canada’s first female Minister of Finance. I am eager to continue our govts work of helping 🇨🇦s from coast to coast to coast get back on their feet. Together, we will ensure Canada’s economy bounces back from these difficult times.— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) August 18, 2020
Like much of the world, Canada is going through its worst economic crisis since the Second World War as a result of Coronavirus. So far 123,873 cases have been recorded with 9054 deaths. The country is also experiencing significant rates of unemployment with young people, minorities and women most vulnerable.
Heading up the finance portfolio, Freeland will be tasked with steering Canada out of its most severe economic downturn and returning stability– a challenge of seismic proportions. During a press conference after she was sworn in, Freeland made clear that a feminist agenda would be integral to the economic recovery efforts of the government. She said she was glad to be able to bring her experiences as a woman and a mother to the forefront of policy and that it was “about time” a woman stepped into the position.
Despite her experience across several high-level cabinet positions, including international trade and foreign affairs, some political commentators speculate that the finance portfolio is the charge she was destined for.
“The choice of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will reassure financial markets, given her prominent stature and seniority,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal. “Given that this is clearly not a ‘placeholder’ candidate, and as someone who can be expected to stand her ground on key issues, her choice will provide some confidence.”
As a former journalist and mother of three, Freeland was first elected as a member of parliament (MP) in 2013.