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Chrystia Freeland: A Profile in Public Service

Edited By: Tanmaya Ramprasad

There has been significant movement in recent times to open government up to greater representation. As my editor says, “highlighting other women’s work is the key to empowering each other.” When discussing women’s accomplishments in government, one thinks quickly of Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.

Thank you #UniRose! // Merci #UniRose! pic.twitter.com/m2gztql3zh

— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) October 22, 2019

Born in Alberta, Freeland studied Russian history and literature at Harvard University before attending Oxford for her Master's degree as a Rhodes Scholar. Freeland’s mother was a Ukrainian Canadian running a feminist socialist cooperative who had an incredible impact on Freeland’s values. Freeland’s became a journalist and author, working first for The Economist, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times as a Ukraine-based writer before she moved on to head the Moscow department for the Financial Times. Freeland speaks multiple languages: English, French, Russian, Ukrainian, and Italian.

Freeland has published multiple books, beginning with Sale of the Century: Russia’s Wild Ride From Communism to Capitalism in 2000. After writing about the economic conflict between oligarchs and reformers, in 2013, she moved on to write about concentrations of wealth. She won the 2013 Lionel Gelber Prize and National Business Book Award for her book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. Her work on global income inequality is also what led her to meet Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. So began her work in government.

Freeland won her first seat in the Toronto Centre in 2013 before winning in her new riding of University-Rosedale in 2015. She was appointed Minister of Foreign Trade and has been involved in negotiations with the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and NAFTA following her promotion to Minister of Foreign Affairs. She continued her work as Minister of Foreign Affairs and made many concerted efforts to combat human rights offences.

Freeland was the first woman to hold the position of Minister of Finance when she was appointed in 2020, and she led the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Freeland has also been working to combat inequality as it has been worsened by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As we battle #COVID19, Canadians are in for a hard winter. But we know that spring will surely follow. We have a plan. We understand what we must do to get through the dark months ahead. And then, to bring our economy roaring back. pic.twitter.com/ZMVHiwSaO1

— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) November 30, 2020

Freeland has been awarded multiple awards for her work, both economically and in foreign affairs. She was the Foreign Policy Diplomat of the Year, the Eric. M. Warburg Award recipient for her work on transatlantic diplomacy, and the Freedom House’s Mark Palmer Prize recipient for work in democracy and human rights.

Freeland lives in Toronto with her husband and three children. Her work in politics is far from complete, and she continues to represent her riding and champion human rights, women’s rights, and economic equality.

Shauna McLean studies International Relations and Peace, Conflict, and Justice through Trinity College while minoring in Near Middle Eastern Studies. She is involved in her community through many avenues including work in Trinity Against Sexual Assault and Harassment and a COVID19 research grant. She loves getting to know Toronto and hopes to keep finding new ways to be an active member of the city and university.
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