If the shoe fits.
The Liberal government is set to unveil the 2022 budget in Ottawa today (April 7) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland will wear a brand new pair of patent leather pumps from Montreal brand L’Interval to mark the occasion.
His new shoes are part of a long, if somewhat odd, tradition that Canadian finance ministers buy new shoes for the reading of the budget. The shoes are meant to symbolize the type of year the public can expect. The first year the tradition was acknowledged in the media was in 1955, but it was actually a note about the departure from the tradition when Walter Harris told the Windsor Star and the Citizen of Ottawa that he couldn’t afford them. Thus, the real origin of budget shoes remains unknown.
What we do know is that when Freeland posted a short video to her Instagram last night, the comments were less than kind.
Freeland visited The Interval’s Ottawa outpost where she was greeted by co-founder Vita (Vicky) Scalia who showed her her collection of brightly colored shoes in bold shapes with chunky platforms and whimsical loafers. The creative footwear raises eyebrows when juxtaposed with the gravity of the national budget, but, in the end, Freeland swapped the sneakers she was wearing for a pair of classic, understated black high heels, forgoing The Gap style. is known for but in keeping with the role of government official.
I’m not sure what he says about the budget though. The brand is Canadian although made in Europe and affordable without being considered cheap. Do what you want with it.
While it’s been a long-standing tradition for both men and women in this role, it seems the reaction to Freeland’s shopping excursion on social media is a little out of proportion. Comments like “Bought with taxpayers’ money,” “What a ridiculous show,” and “She’s never seen a pair of steel-toed work boots” clash with shots like “I’m ready to read the worst budget in history” and “tell single mothers she froze 😂’s bank accounts.”
It’s unclear whether commentators take issue with the shoes, the lore, the minister, or all of the above. Wait until they see the budget.
What do you think of the economy shoe tradition?