Did Chrystia Freeland Compare Donald Trump To Hitler?

It would be particularly ironic considering numerous reports indicating Freeland’s grandfather collaborated with the Nazis.

People are raising questions about part of a New York Times article featuring Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, in which she appears to make a link between Donald Trump and Adolph Hitler.

Here’s the section in question, quoted at length:

“The optimism Freeland displayed only weeks earlier was now mostly gone. With the United States imposing tariffs and threatening the legally binding Nafta treaty, Freeland believed much larger and more troubling issues had been raised. She was worried that Western nations were forgetting the lessons of history from the 20th century and taking for granted the institutions of a rules-based global order constructed over decades under the leadership of the United States. America’s closest friend and ally and a country that might see America more clearly than it sees itself now offered a dire warning about the perils to liberal democracy in this “fraught” era. Freeland said she had recently come across a “terrifying” quote from Adolf Hitler, explaining his rise to power in Germany in a time of economic uncertainty and grievance. “I will tell you what has carried me to the position I have reached,” Hitler had said. “Our political problems appeared complicated. The German people could make nothing of them. … I, on the other hand … reduced them to the simplest terms. The masses realized this and followed me.”

She leaned forward, a look of concern in her eyes. “How do you attract voters and public support compared with the flashiness of exciting, chaotic, fact-ignoring populism?” she asked. “The reason Hitler won was because all of the other politicians were giving complicated and difficult explanations about difficult things. Hitler just told people simple things that they wanted to hear.”’

While Freeland didn’t directly link Trump and Hitler with her comments, her mentioning of Hitler’s rise to power, and then right afterwards talking about so-called “chaotic, fact-ignoring populism,” in the context of a discussion about tariffs imposed by Trump leaves very little doubt about what she was referring to.

Of course, there are some big ironies here.

First, every political party offers “simple things” that people want to hear. The Trudeau Liberals said their carbon tax would save the environment and boost the economy at the same time with ease – and how did that overly simplistic idea work out? (*cough* Trans Mountain Debacle *cough*). Total failure.

Second, Chrystia Freeland is in an interesting position to be talking about Nazism, considering the numerous reports – including in the Ottawa Citizen – that Freeland’s grandfather Michael Chomiak was a “Nazi collaborator”, despite Freeland denying it and trying to blame ‘Russian disinformation.’:

“Well it actually isn’t so outlandish. Michael Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator. What are the sources for the information that Freeland’s grandfather worked for the Nazis? For starters, The Ukraine Archival Records held by the Province of Alberta. It has a whole file on Chomiak, including his own details about his days editing the newspaper Krakivski Visti. Chomiak noted he edited the paper first in Crakow (Cracow), Poland and then in Vienna. The reason he edited the paper in Vienna was because he had to flee with his Nazis colleagues as the Russians advanced into Poland. (The Russians tended to execute collaborators well as SS members). So what was the Krakivski Visti? It, like a number of publications, had been seized by the Nazis from their Jewish owners and then operated as propaganda outlets.”

Of course, Freeland should not be judged by the actions of her grandfather. With that said, you would imagine she would think twice about throwing Nazi comparisons out there.

And finally, it’s pretty arrogant to think that people wouldn’t notice the Hitler comparison. While Trump himself has made Nazi comparisons before (comparing the US intel agencies to “Nazi Germany” on Twitter), making those types of links are generally signs of a pathetically weak argument.

There is a huge gap between not responding to the US, and comparing the US President to Hitler, and in between those two extremes is a balanced position that would serve Canada far better.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube