POLITICS

Trudeau Names Chrystia Freeland, Toronto Centre Candidate, Co-Chair Of Economic Advisory Team

09/17/2013 02:54 EDT | Updated 09/17/2013 02:55 EDT
CP

She hasn't been elected yet.

The byelection in her riding hasn't even been called.

But Chrystia Freeland, the freshly-nominated Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre, has already taken on a huge role in the Liberal Party of Canada.

On Tuesday, Grit Leader Justin Trudeau named Freeland and finance critic Scott Brison as the new co-chairs of his party's economic council of advisors, tasked with providing him advice and helping develop the party platform for 2015.

In a press release, Trudeau said the pair will "bring together subject matter experts and engage with Canadians from coast to coast to coast about the economic challenges they are facing."

Freeland, a former Thomson Reuters editor-at-large and best-selling author, easily clinched her party's nomination on Sunday. Her book, "Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else," addresses the issue of income inequality. Her main opponent in Toronto Centre is the NDP's Linda McQuaig, another journalist and best-selling author who has written extensively on the subject.

Freeland, who recently moved with her family to Toronto from New York, told reporters on Tuesday she is concerned about the relentless “squeeze” facing Canada's middle class, the CBC reports.

"What we are doing today is putting in place a very serious process and effort to address in a sophisticated, smart way, how we can secure real prosperity for the Canadian middle class going forward," she said.

Postmedia's Michael Den Tandt reports the council, which is expected to include prominent Canadian economists, appears partly intended to offset criticism of Trudeau’s lack of experience in economics.

But handing the co-chair gig to Freeland, rather than a sitting Liberal MP, could lead some to question if Trudeau is counting his chickens before they hatch.

Ian Gillespie, advisor to NDP Official Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair, seemed to suggest as much on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

The Liberals have already announced they won't share concrete policy proposals in advance of the next federal election.

"My responsibility is to put forward a comprehensive robust platform in 2015 that is going to demonstrate to Canadians that the Liberal party is serious about working hard for them and responding to their concerns," Trudeau said at the Liberal caucus retreat in P.E.I. last month.

What do you think about this move? Is Trudeau being presumptuous or does this make sense? Tell us in the comments.

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