Chrystia Freeland, the Federal Finance Minister, who is known to prefer cycling and does not own a car, has reportedly been issued a fine of $273 for exceeding the speed limit in her home province of Alberta. A spokesperson, Katherine Cuplinskas, confirmed the incident and stated that Freeland promptly paid the fine.
The exact date of the speeding incident and the specific speed limit on the road segment in question were not provided by Cuplinskas. The standard maximum speed limit on Alberta highways is 110 km/hr.
This development was initially reported by the website Counter Signal. Chrystia Freeland, who also holds the position of deputy prime minister and represents the University–Rosedale riding in central Toronto, is frequently seen cycling in the city.
In a recent statement to the media, Freeland mentioned, "A fact that still shocks my dad is that I don't actually own a car. I walk, I take the subway. My kids walk and ride their bikes and take the subway — it's actually healthier for our family."
The fine of $273 has since been settled by Freeland, according to the official statement. In addition to the fine, speeding as an offense can carry up to 4 demerit points in Alberta, something which could eventually lead to a license suspension.
According to CBC, the specific speed limit on the stretch of Highway 2 where the incident took place remains unclear. The highway has varying speed limits, with some sections having a maximum limit of 110 km/h.
During her visit to Alberta, Freeland, who spent her childhood in Peace River and now represents University Rosedale, a downtown Toronto riding, toured a natural gas plant in her hometown.
In a show of bipartisanship, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, despite previous disagreements with the Trudeau cabinet on federal energy policies, vaccinations and public safety, shared a photo alongside Freeland. In the photo, Smith thanked Freeland "for coming to Alberta and meeting with me to discuss Alberta’s position on key policies, including reasonable carbon-neutral timelines."
Addressing her transportation choices, Freeland noted, "I am right now an MP for downtown Toronto, and a fact that still shocks my dad is that I don't actually own a car. I'm like 300 meters from the nearest subway; I walk, I take the subway; my kids walk and ride their bikes and take the subway — it's actually healthier for our family."
Although cabinet ministers are entitled to a government-funded car and driver in Ottawa, Freeland's preference for public transportation and cycling is evident. Public records indicate that between April 2021 and March 2023, the non car-owning MP's utilized a government-funded car and chauffeur for travel within Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City on as few as 15 occasions.
The deputy Prime Minister would do well to watch her speed in future, lest she be mistaken as a member of the New Democratic Party. There is a specific bit of folk wisdom in Canadian politics and media which holds that the NDP are just Liberals in a hurry.