Trudeau appoints Liberal candidate to economic advisory committee
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013 2:00PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 17, 2013 6:41PM EDT
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has appointed Chrystia Freeland -- the party’s nominee in the yet-to-be-called Toronto Centre by-election -- co-chair of his new Economic Council of Advisors, which will help develop the party’s economic platform ahead of the 2015 election.
Trudeau made the announcement on Parliament Hill Tuesday, saying his MPs are back at work in Ottawa despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to prorogue Parliament until Oct. 16.
Trudeau told reporters that the Council, to be co-chaired by Liberal Finance Critic Scott Brison, “is about building the kind of solutions and platform that we need to offer Canadians in 2015 for not just a different government, but a better government.”
On Sunday, Freeland beat former bank executive Diana Burke and community organizer Todd Ross for the Liberal nomination in Toronto Centre, where a by-election must be held to replace former MP and interim Liberal leader Bob Rae.
Even though she does not have a seat in Parliament, Trudeau is tapping into Freeland’s expertise from having written about economic issues throughout her career as a journalist. Her book is entitled, “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.”
Freeland said Tuesday that she left a lucrative career in New York over “a desire to serve,” and because she shares Trudeau’s desire to develop economic policies that will benefit middle-class Canadians.
“The middle class is getting squeezed,” Freeland told CTV’s Power Play. “It used to be if you worked hard, particularly if you went to university, you could be pretty much assured of a stable and secure middle-class life in Canada. All of us know that’s no longer the case.”
Freeland accused the Harper government of failing to understand the economic realities of a global economy driven by technological innovation, and said she wants “Canada’s great cities and my great riding of Toronto Centre to be a magnet for global entrepreneurship.”
Freeland, who was born in Alberta, will battle former Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig for the Toronto Centre seat. McQuaig, who secured the NDP’s nomination on Sunday, is also well-known for her extensive writings on economic issues facing the middle class.
Shortly before Trudeau’s press conference on Tuesday, McQuaig released a statement challenging Freeland to a debate on income inequality.
"The dramatic increase in income inequality is one of the most far-reaching changes in Canadian society in recent years, and it has profoundly affected the people of Toronto Centre," McQuaig said in her statement.
"Let’s give them a chance to see the significant difference between the Liberals and the NDP on this growing problem."
When asked about McQuaig’s challenge on Power Play, Freeland said: “What we need to have is a debate among all the candidates representing all the parties.”
Lawyer Geoffrey Pollock is running for the Conservatives in the Toronto Centre by-election, while another former journalist, retired Toronto Star reporter John Deverell, is running for the Greens.
In the 2011 election, Rae won the seat with 41 per cent of the vote, compared to 30 per cent for the NDP and 23 per cent for the Conservatives.