Lunch with Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister, who is widely tipped as Justin Trudeau’s heir, was always going to be faintly surreal. Not only was she my former boss, as the FT’s one-time deputy editor and US managing editor. She has also conducted many Lunches with the FT herself. Her subjects include Gloria Steinem, the American feminist, Lawrence Summers, the former US Treasury secretary, and one or two Russian oligarchs with whom Freeland — our Moscow bureau chief during the Yeltsin era, when their like were running riot — decidedly did not hit it off.

I am aware Freeland will be the only interviewee to have also sat on my side of the table — and so will doubtlessly anticipate every conversational gambit. They say a fair interviewer approaches their subject blind. In Freeland’s case, my eyes are wide open, or at least they have been most of the time. When Freeland was my boss many years ago, she once unexpectedly breast-fed her newly born baby in front of me...

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