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Freeland's budget shoes: Finance minister opts for fairness-focused brand

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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland picked out a new pair of Canadian-designed shoes on Monday, ahead of tabling the federal government's 2024 budget.

This year, Freeland opted for a pair of black leather heels from a Montreal-based footwear brand: Maguire Shoes, an independent, direct-to-consumer, business owned by sisters Myriam and Romy Maguire.

According to the brand's website, its focus is "working to make high-quality fashion footwear fair and accessible."

Choosing the brand owned by a pair of entrepreneurs from Canada’s millennial cohort is likely another way the government is emphasizing the goal of the budget, which is to help ease the pressures on younger generations.

Canadian political tradition

Buying a new pair of shoes before introducing an annual budget has become a political tradition for Canadian finance ministers and the choice of shoe is usually seen as an indicator of what’s ahead in the budget.

In 2015, for example, then-finance minister Joe Oliver selected a pair of New Balance running shoes before tabling a balanced budget.

That's not the only quirky selection over the years. In 1994 then-finance minister Paul Martin was gifted a pair of work boots by Jean Chretien, and Jim Flaherty decided to re-sole his shoes ahead of both the 2008 and 2011 federal budgets.

Budget comes amid affordability challenges

The Liberals are planning to introduce a bevy of measures in Tuesday's budget to help put a dent in Canada's housing crisis. However, the new spending comes amid concerns over a sizable federal deficit and the possibility of a tax hike -- something Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ruled out for the middle class.

Despite this, the finance minister says Canada is at a "pivotal moment" that requires spending as an affordability crisis puts price pressures on the population and a dire housing shortage has priced young Canadians out of the real estate market.

"There is an urgent need today to invest in Canada, and Canadians… That's something that we have to do something about. That requires investments. We are making them," Freeland said on April 9.

With files from CTV News' Rachel Aiello and the Canadian Press

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