Who will be Canada’s next female prime minister?

Benns' Belief

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By Roderick Benns

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Advocate. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, he has written several books including Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World.

Kim Campbell served as Prime Minister of Canada for just under five months in 1993. Advocate publisher Roderick Benns wonders who the next female PM will be. Photo: William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

It’s been more than 30 years since Canada had a female prime minister. But Tory Kim Campbell only lasted 132 days in the role, as distaste for the Progressive Conservative government of the day caught up with her campaign.

New Zealand has had three female leaders, as has the United Kingdom and Iceland. Finland and Switzerland have had even more. We are long overdue. But who is most likely to succeed?

Chrystia Freeland is the most obvious successor of the Liberal Party. Alberta born, the current deputy prime minister and finance minister is widely seen as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s heir apparent and his most trusted ally. Incredibly, she also speaks five languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, French, and English. She is also a former journalist and an expert on foreign affairs, trade, and human rights. She can be didactic in front of cameras but has won praise for her ability to handle complex issues.

Second pick: Anita Anand. Smart. Capable. It’s too bad Trudeau shuffles his cabinet as often as playing cards and can’t delegate without interfering. As defence minister she presented Trudeau with a plan to exceed the NATO target of spending two per cent of GDP on defence. For her trouble, she was soon shuffled to the treasury board.

The Conservative Party is most likely the furthest away from having a female leader again, simply because the current leader, Pierre Poilievre, is new to his role and will get at least two kicks at the can to become PM. When the party is ready for a leadership review, Leslyn Lewis is the most likely female candidate to win. A lawyer, businesswoman, and a social conservative she surprised many observers with her strong performance in the 2020 leadership race. Lewis, a Black woman, has advocated for a balanced budget, lower taxes, stronger national security, and more support for families and seniors. However, she has also amplified the conspiracy theory that the World Economic Forum (WEF) is planning to subjugate humanity through a world government and has implied that the Liberal Party is controlled by it.

Jagmeet Singh should not be going anywhere in the next election, either. In fact, his name should go down in history as one of the fathers of Canadian healthcare for using his influence in this minority government to ensure Canada has both dental care and pharmacare as part of its universal health care system. When he does eventually step down, Leah Gazan, the MP for Winnipeg Centre in Manitoba, is a good pick. A member of the Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, she is a fighter against inequality, including in the push for a national basic income.

1 Comment

  1. Joan Abernethy says:

    Why must we always judge others first by the collectives they belong to instead of by their individual character? I’d far rather Canada elect as PM – and our parties elect as party leaders – exceptional individuals with vision, spine and an understanding of and commitment to moral clarity regardless of sex, gender, or any other personal identity marker. There are very few exceptional politicians – those not in the game to satisfy personal ambition, those who can pitch a clear vision of a better future, those dedicated to serving a true common good for all of earthy kind. Perhaps the compromise of integrity bureaucratic oppression requires would-be leaders to make destroys all – or almost all – vision and moral clarity in all but the most exceptional that are far and few to begin with due simply to chance.

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