Chrystia Freeland

Banker steps into the role of superhero

Chrystia Freeland
Apr 23, 2013 16:06 UTC

In other ages, we have called on shamans or saints in times of crisis when the usual remedies have not worked.

In the stagnant world economy today, we have designated central bankers as our superheroes, and we are relying on their magical monetary powers to restart global growth.

As the European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, whom some have nicknamed Super Mario, said this month: “There was a time, not too long ago, when central banking was considered to be a rather boring and unexciting occupation.”

Not anymore. No one embodies this new glamour more than Mark Carney, the 48-year-old governor of the Bank of Canada, who has been tapped to lead the Bank of England, making him the first foreign governor in the institution’s 319-year history.

The bar for Carney could not be higher. A cartoon in the British papers made the point. It showed a Bethlehem inn with Joseph leading Mary on a donkey. The caption above the innkeeper’s head declares: “Unless you’re Mark Carney, you’ll have to make do with the stable.”

The key to the meaning of Keystone XL

Chrystia Freeland
Feb 1, 2013 18:03 UTC

Is oil like red meat or is it like tobacco? Your answer to that question determines how you feel about the North American boom in unconventional sources of fossil fuel, particularly the Canadian oil sands.

If you think oil is like tobacco, it is a strictly noxious commodity, which seriously harms its users and those around them. We should stop consuming it at once and at all costs. But if you think oil is like red meat, you take a more nuanced view. For the health of the planet, we should find greener alternatives to it whenever we can, but used wisely and in moderation it has an honorable role in the 21st-century economy.

This morality play is being acted out with the greatest intensity in the fight over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would stretch from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Finding a place in a rebalanced global economy

Chrystia Freeland
Mar 14, 2011 17:15 UTC

Warning — unashamedly patriotic Canadian content to follow!!! If you are a member of the “Blame Canada” constituency, or if you share Michael Kinsley’s view that the world’s most boring headline is “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative,” then please read no further ….

I, however, am an enthusiastic Canadian, and I was absolutely thrilled earlier this year when Morris Rosenberg, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, invited me to deliver the annual O.D. Skelton lecture on foreign policy at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa.

At the beginning of my talk last week, I asked for feedback and promised to post my lecture online so that anyone who is interested could read it and respond. Here it is. The O.D. Skelton lectures are published online and in pamphlet form by the DFAIT and before mine appears I would love to take advantage of your ideas to improve it.

Canadian FinMin tells Europe to follow U.S. example

Chrystia Freeland
Dec 10, 2010 19:01 UTC

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stopped by the Reuters studio this morning to chat with Chrystia about the impact of Europe’s debt crisis on Canada. He said the situation in Europe “poses a danger” and that if it gets out of control, the crisis could lead to a repeat of what happened to the financial markets in 2008. He urged the Europeans to follow the course America took in 2008 and substantially increase the amount of capital in the stabilization fund:

Jim Flaherty: They should imitate what the Americans did quite frankly in 2008 and create a situation where the markets regain confidence in sovereign debt and banking situations. And that means a substantial fund put together or they could do it with bonds and that’s been another suggestion, but a substantial pool that would make it clear that they would be able to defend and protect sovereigns and banking systems in Europe.

Chrystia Freeland: And that pool should be bigger than the one they have now?

Jim Flaherty: Yes

Chrystia Freeland: How much?

Jim Flaherty: Well, I’ll leave that, you know, for them to decide but it needs to be such that the markets would have full confidence, so substantially more than it is right now.