She is many things that would seem to irritate President Donald Trump: a liberal Canadian former journalist.
According to Associated Press Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is an unusual choice to lead Canada’s negotiations over a new free trade deal with a surprisingly hostile U.S. administration.
Recruited into politics by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Freeland has already clashed with Russia and Saudi Arabia. Those who know her say she’s unlikely to back down in a confrontation with Trump.
“She is everything the Trump administration loathes,” said Sarah Goldfeder, a former official with the U.S. Embassy in Canada.
Freeland, a globalist negotiating with a U.S. administration that believes in economic nationalism and populism, hopes to salvage a free trade deal with Canada’s largest trading partner as talks resumed Wednesday in Washington. The 50-year-old Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar speaks five languages and has influential friends around the world.
The Trump administration left Canada out of the talks for five weeks not long after the president vowed to make Canada pay after Trudeau said at the G-7 in Quebec he wouldn’t let Canada get pushed around in trade talks. Freeland then poked the U.S. when she received Foreign Policy magazine’s diplomat of the year award in Washington.
Now she’s facing her toughest challenge with the North American Free Trade Agreement, since the U.S. represents 75 percent of Canada’s exports.
“Canada is stuck with the United States. That’s Canada’s trade,” Bremmer said. “Canadians are going to have to swallow a fair amount of pride. They are going have to pretend they like this guy a lot more than they obviously do or they risk getting much more economically punished. That’s just the reality.”