Is Chrystia Freeland fit to be making foreign policy decisions surrounding Russia?

Following the arrival of the new Canadian battalion in Latvia; the question of Canada’s involvement in the Russian situation is again brought to the forefront.

Many know the Ukrainian mission was renewed until 2019 and was originally initiated under Stephen Harper, who sent troops to Lviv to help train Ukrainian soldiers, on behalf of Kiev’s government.  This new installment of troops in Latvia however, is a new move instituted under the Trudeau government; who originally campaigned against the Harper government and his aggressive foreign policy.

Over 450 troops are currently stationed in Latvia and the Canadian deployment will spearhead the platoon of soldiers coming from 6 other countries in NATO.  Over the next three years, Trudeau expects the mission will cost us $350 million dollars.

The move to extend Canada’s involvement in Ukraine was led by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in Chrystia Freeland, who has an extensive history in Russia, Ukraine, and who is of Ukrainian descent.

The question as to whether Freeland is properly fit to handle our situation in Russia does not necessarily lie in her competence, but rather her personal bias.

Indeed, it became public news in March 2017 that Freeland’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator and the editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian newspaper Krakivski Visti.

The daily newspaper, started in Cracow, was founded under the supervision of Emil Gassner, the lead press propagandist in Poland, who worked for Hans Frank, leader of Poland under Hitler for the German government.

To continue the spread of Nazi propaganda, the Nazi’s seized a printing press, office and other assets from a Jew in Moshe Kafner, who was later along with 600,000 Polish Jews, killed in the concentration camps.  They provided these assets for a former journalist in Michael Chomiak, Freeland’s grandfather, who for five years, worked extensively to spread Nazi propaganda, anti-Semitism and anti-Polish sentiment.

Dr. John Paul Himka, a relative of Freeland’s, wrote extensively on Krakivski Visti, and through his research stated that the newspaper went so far as to “express approval of what the Nazis were doing the Jews.”

One article in the paper stated that, “today there are no more Jews in the mountains, and the Hutsuls appear to be on the verge of economic revival”, insinuating Jewish control of the money-supply.

Another issue acclaims how much Kiev better is without Jews.  “There is not a single one left in Kiev today, while there were 350,000 under the Bolsheviks,” wrote the newspaper, also stating the Jews “got their comeuppance.”

This article is alluding to the mass killing of Kiev’s Jewish population at Babi Yar. In only two days, September 29-30 1941, 33,771 Jews were murdered.  It is considered to be “the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust”, up until that particular date.

Following the massacre in early November, Krakivski Visti made proclamations that the Jewish population had “disappeared” making Kiev “beautiful, glorious”.

The newspaper also celebrated the London Bombings, saying the “bombing of industrial plants in Birmingham, Coventry, the port of Liverpool was good,” and cheered on Nazi success against the US army, making supportive proclamations like, “this last German attack [was] a smashing blow to the solar plexus of the alliance.”

Following Russia’s advance across Poland, Chomiak, along with Gassner, fled to Vienna, where he continued to publish Krakivski Visti. Following the push into Austria, Chomiak, along with the Nazi’s, resettled in Bavaria, where they eventually surrendered to the US army.

Now, how does this all relate to Chrystia Freeland you might be asking.

Freeland, when confronted about her grandfather’s past at a press conference, completely dodged the question and answered by vaguely alluding to the threat of “Russian disinformation”.  It seems that this is extremely important information which should be addressed; and the obfuscation should not be becoming for one of Canada’s top diplomats responsible for formulating the foreign policy of our country.

Freeland also wrote a couple of Tweets saying her grandfather “worked hard to return freedom and democracy to Ukraine“, and that she “was proud to honour their memory today.”  Not only has she refused to acknowledge the allegations made against her about her grandfather; but it’s clear he had a large impact on shaping her world view, and being an apologist for the work he did seems somewhat to be in bad taste, considering the large amount of Jews living in Canada who were and still are greatly affected by the Holocaust.

Freeland, prior to her appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs, has demonstrated through her work her vehement disdain for the Russian regime; her strong nationalist tendencies for Ukraine, and has also said she was “proud” to be among one of 12 Canadians banned from travelling to Russia.

And now, in a bitter twist of irony, Freeland is supporting the pro-Stepan-Bandera Ukrainian government rife with neo-Nazi elements; is sending Canadian troops to support the Ukrainian army, who have been a little less furtive than the government when it comes to concealing their neo-Nazi tendencies; and is highly responsible for the platoon of troops who are now stationed on Russia’s border – where she justifies Canada’s actions on the ‘threat’ of Russian aggressionism.

Perhaps we should take a closer look at Freeland’s actions toward the Ukrainian conflict, instead of quickly writing it off to the threat “Russian aggressionism”.  Perhaps there’s more at hand that’s lying here.

About Jake Beaumont 58 Articles
BA in Media Studies from the University of Guelph. Graduated from the University of Guelph-Humber with a Diploma in Journalism. Former Research Analyst for Honest Reporting Canada. Published in the Huffington Post, Vancouver Province and many other newspapers across Canada. Specializes in Middle-East politics. Currently situated in Toronto.

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