This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Crisis Management in Canada

"Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland knew for more than two decades that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper in occupied Poland that vilified Jews during the Second World War."
"Ms. Freeland’s family history has become a target for Russian forces seeking to discredit one of Canada’s highly placed defenders of Ukraine."
"Ms. Freeland, who has paid tribute to her maternal grandparents in articles and books, helped edit a scholarly article in the Journal of Ukrainian Studies in 1996 that revealed her grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a Nazi propagandist for Krakivski Visti (Krakow News)."
Globe and Mail, Toronto
Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 6, 2017. (CHRIS WATTIE)
Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Yeah he was the editor of a legal newspaper in Nazi-occupied Poland. He never signed anything in the paper. He never made policy or that kind of thing. It wouldn’t be his call."
"[The newspaper] also performed a function for Ukrainian culture and kept Ukrainian intelligentsia alive during the war by paying them for articles, not just anti-Semitic articles but articles about Ukrainian culture. It was a bit of a mixed bag."
Dr. J.P. Himka, professor emeritus, University of Alberta historian/son-in-law of Michael Chomiak
How damaging can certain unearthed information be to the trust placed in individuals tasked to perform some of society's most public political enterprises? And should public opinion be tainted by revelations that members of one's family collaborated and supported the most heinous political entity that the century before had ever struggled with, one that left in its unsuccessful and violet wake millions of people dead?

Guilt by association may not be very convincing to many. Besmirching an otherwise admirable personality capable of performing difficult work on behalf of the public weal is an old tactic employed by those who have scores to settle. On the other hand, that same individual would have known very intimately and emotionally the person in their background who was complicit in helping to carry out propaganda that benefited a zealously violent and vicious regime.

In this case, to the extent that had this individual revealed when making application to emigrate from Ukraine, post Second World War to Canada, that he had aided the Third Reich's plans to dominate the world as a master race and in the sidelines take the trouble of convincing its audience in Europe that humankind would be benefited by the mass extermination of Jews, that person would never have been permitted entry to Canada.

Knowing all of this at the dispassionate level of anyone familiar with history, particularly because of their antecedents, and being immersed in it at the very intimate level of family indulgence for a grandparent would certainly colour one's outlook on life, politics, ideologies, the social good and most certainly the definition of the moral certainties of human relations. Knowing that anti-Jewish diatribes including "certain passages in some of the articles that expressed approval of what the Nazis were doing to the Jews" was a reality of the family background.

The government of Canada has responded to recently revealed news that a man by the name of Michael Chomiak, living in occupied Poland during the war years as a conspicuous Nazi collaborator Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs has warned of "efforts on the Russian side to destabilize Western democracies". Canada's Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, spoke as well, of "Russian disinformation tactics".

And hasn't the world heard its fill of sinister Russian plots to destabilize Europe and the United States as pay-back for the cold shoulder Moscow has been treated to, and the economic sanctions imposed upon Russia by nations respecting the international rule of law, objecting to the annexation of Crimea and that Vladimir Putin has authorized the surreptitious presence of Russian troops to aid the secession aspirations of ethnic Russian Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine.

Russia is well known to engage in cyber-espionage, intent on shutting down computer and Internet communications and public infrastructure in countries formerly in the Soviet sphere and desperately attempting to avoid being sucked back into its orbit. The previous Conservative-led government made no secret of its disgust with Russian belligerence on the international scene. The new Liberal government stated its intention to resume normal relations with Russia and with Iran, another nation the previous government identified as a pariah state.

Former journalist stationed in Moscow, Chrystia Freeland returned to Canada from her employment as a political pundit in the United States, lured by the prospect of entering politics. She has been appointed to the Liberal cabinet and as minister of foreign affairs for Canada. Her familiarity with the language and the political climate in Russia was seen to equip her well for that position. Plans to restore former relaxed relations with Moscow appear now to have been put on hold.

Ms. Freeland's belligerent attitude toward Russia speaks of her Ukrainian heritage which is understandable. Understandable too is the Kremlin's move to reveal that her grandfather who died in 1984, was a Nazi puppet. An editor of the Ukrainian-language newspaper, Krakivs'ki Visti, based in Poland and in circulation with the approval of Germany. Research reveals that the newspaper served the Nazi regime, operating out of the former offices of a Jewish newspaper in Krakow.

This Ukrainian-language newspaper presented itself as in cultural and political support of Nazi Germany. And it was invested in publishing anti-Semitic diatribes written by Ukrainians in service of Germany's Final Solution. Knowing all of this, did Chrystia Freeland's family, living in Alberta as Canadian citizens, abhor what her grandfather represented, or indulge him because of who he was to them, while deploring his racist, criminal past?

It certainly does give some garish colour to the background of Canada's minister of foreign affairs.

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