A few months ago I reviewed a Michael Powell film called the 49th Parallel, where he dramatized Canadians of German descent rejecting attempts by Hitler’s agents to recruit them into the Nazi Cause. Well it turns out to have been more complex than Powell’s great but admittedly propagandistic film. After the Second World War, the Canadian government went out of its way to recruit Ukrainian fascists, mostly, it seems, to break unions in the mining industry. Canada even has officially sanctioned monuments to the Waffen SS.
Graffiti spray-painted on a monument to Nazi soldiers in a small Canadian city is being investigated by police as a hate crime – a move that has prompted disbelief among human rights advocates.
Around 21 June, the words “Nazi war monument” were spray-painted on to a cenotaph commemorating soldiers in the 14th SS Division in an Ontario cemetery, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
It’s stuff like this that makes me so wary of Russiagate, and how much power the Ukraine Lobby has gotten over the Democratic Party in the United States. Sure, Russia is a corrupt, right-wing capitalist oligarchy (kind of like the United States), but every time I look at social media and see gangs of shrieking banshees calling for more sanctions on Russia it makes my bullshit detector go off. For the love of God let’s not replace the influence of the Israel Lobby (which itself replaced the right wing China Lobby) with the influence of the Ukraine or Saudi lobby.
It also seems that one of the most powerful politicians in Canada is the granddaughter of a Ukrainian collaborator.
When asked at a press conference on March 6 about the allegations that her maternal grandfather was a Nazi collaborator, Chrystia Freeland, newly appointed Foreign Minister of Canada, former journalist and a writer, a master of words, found only clumsy sentences to deliver what would have earned no more than a ‘C’ in a high school debate class.
“It’s no secret that Russians do not like you and banned you from the country,” began the question. “Recently, there has been a series of articles in pro-Russian websites about you and your maternal grandparents, making accusations that [your grandfather] was a Nazi collaborator. I’d like to get your view—is this a disinformation campaign by the Russians to try to smear you and discredit you, which they have a tendency to do?”
My long standing impression of Canada as the United States with healthcare and without the racism was naive.
Contrast that to how the Canadian government handled a related issue last year when the Russian Embassy in Ottawa tweeted out that, “There are monumets (sic) to Nazi collaborators in Canada and nobody is doing anything about it.”
A monument in Oakville commemorates those who served with the 14th SS Galizien Division. Another monument in Edmonton honors Roman Shukhevych, the leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
As my Postmedia colleague Marie-Danielle Smith discovered, the Russian tweet sent bureaucrats at Global Affairs Canada into overdrive as they tried to defend the SS unit and Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. Documents she received through the Access to Information law show government officials were under a lot of pressure from the “Centre” (the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister’s Office) to counter the news about the monuments to Nazi collaborators. The bureaucrats came up with a strategy. The would label the tweet as “disinformation” and they came up with a plan to spread the word to the news media as part of their efforts to defend Ukraine’s Nazi collaborators.
I guess this is the ideal, not the reality.