Freeland speech disrupted over war escalation, military spending

Today I interrupted Deputy Prime Minister Christya Freeland at a press conference to ask if she’s a warmonger. I criticized her for devoting half a billion dollars in last week’s budget for new weapons to fight Russia. I also questioned her support of NATO expansion and failure to support the Minsk accords for a negotiated solution to the monstrous war.

Taking advantage of the large platform granted the finance minister, Freeland called for escalation of the war during her recent budget speech. “The world’s democracies—including our own—can be safe only once the Russian tyrant and his armies are entirely vanquished”, she declared. While Russia’s invasion is illegal and horrific, this is a call for nuclear war since “vanquishing” the Russian military would likely elicit a nuclear response.

Freeland put Canadians’ money where her mouth is. In an unprecedented move the budget earmarked half a billion dollars in funding for arms to Ukraine (in addition to $90 million worth of “offensive” weapons announced and delivered since the end of February).

Long before Russia’s February 24 invasion Freeland framed the smoldering fighting in eastern Ukraine as a global battle between good and evil. In November 2019 she declared that Ukraine was at the “forefront of the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism” and that “modern Ukraine is the country where the struggle is ongoing and the future of the rules-based international order and genuine democracy in the world will be determined.”

Throughout her seven years in cabinet Freeland has openly opposed any warming of relations with Russia. Decades before becoming an MP Freeland campaigned for the break-up of the Soviet Union. During a 1989 visit, reports the Globe and Mail, Freeland “delivered cash, video- and audio-recording equipment, and even a personal computer to her contacts in Ukraine.” Freeland’s support for nationalist, anti-socialist forces got her followed by the KGB and labeled by the press as an “anti-Soviet bourgeois nationalist.”

Freeland’s family are hardline nationalists. Her grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a Ukrainian Nazi propagandist during World War II.

It’s not only on Ukraine that Freeland is hawkish. During a visit to Israel in 2018 she announced that should Canada win a seat on the United Nations Security Council, it would act as an “asset for Israel” on the Council. In 2020 Venezuelan foreign affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza pointed out that the Trudeau government’s Venezuela policy took a sharply belligerent turn after Freeland replaced Stéphane Dion as foreign affairs minister in January 2017. Freeland helped establish the Lima Group and participated in a half dozen meetings of the anti-Venezuelan government coalition. The Globe and Mail reported, “Freeland spoke with Juan Guaidó to congratulate him on unifying opposition forces in Venezuela, two weeks before he declared himself interim president” in January 2019.

When Freeland became foreign minister, the US embassy in Ottawa sent a memo to the State Department in Washington entitled “Canada Adopts ‘America First’ Foreign Policy.” Uncovered through a freedom of information request by Jay Watts, the largely redacted cable concluded that Trudeau promoted Freeland “in large part because of her strong U.S. contacts” and that her “number one priority” was working closely with Washington.

In launching a foreign policy review in June 2017 Freeland praised the US’s “outsized role” in world affairs since World War II. “Canada is grateful, and will always be grateful, to our neighbour for the outsized role it has played in the world,” she noted. “And we seek and will continue to seek to persuade our friends that their continued international leadership is very much in their national interest — as well as that of the rest of the free world.”

Freeland is trying to lead Canada down a dangerous path. We must stop her.

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