A dog was kept in the stables, and yet, though someone had been in and had fetched out a horse, he had not barked. Obviously the midnight visitor was someone whom the dog knew well.
~ Sherlock Holmes
A reader of the “news” should pay as much attention to omissions as to what is reported. A case in point is the recent scandal in the Canadian House of Commons caused by the Speaker’s lionization of Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian elder who served in the Nazi Waffen-SS Galicia Division during WWII.
There was Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in the front benches positively beaming while she applauded Hunka. Did she not know that most Ukrainians who fought against the Red Army during WWII either took the Hitler oath, or were Banderites who committed genocide against the neighboring Polish population?
Given her family history in Ukraine, we might rather suspect that Hunka was someone whom she knew well. The fact is, Freeland’s Grandfather Mykhailo Khomiak, was himself editor of a Nazi “collaborationist newspaper,” and somehow, like Hunka, escaped the notice of Canada’s immigration service.
Freeland did not bat an eye when she reassured the public the day after the scandal broke, that the Government of Canada would give serious consideration to what should be done about Nazi-affiliated Ukrainian nationalists like Hunka living in Canada. I would not hold my breath, however, till we find out what happens to the Government of Poland’s request to have Hunka extradited.
Such public dissociation from her “Nazi Heritage” when it rears its ugly head is not new for the Canadian Deputy Prime Minister. Her office, and the Prime Minister himself, at first dismissed revelations in 2017 about Chomiak’s role as editor of the Krakviski Visti, as “scurrilous” Russian propaganda.
In another incident, Freeland tweeted a photo of herself holding a scarf with the red and black colors and slogan of the Nazi-affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) at a Toronto rally in March of 2022. The photograph was deleted and replaced by one without the flag in her hands, and her office again blamed Russian disinformation in response to public outcry.
Politicians who promote other “exceptionalist” narratives can easily get caught in their own contradictions when seeking to distance themselves from the history of “National Socialism.” For example, beginning with a reminder of how Russia and the United States defeated Nazi Germany together, Putin took issue with Obama’s advocacy of American “exceptionalism” in his 2013 op-ed in the New York Times.
Freeland’s “activist Ukrainian nationalism” is particularly problematic in this regard because of the history, but I would argue that a nationalist ethos lurks behind all wars and racism. Putin also justifies the war in Ukraine on the grounds of Russian nationalism. He recently extolled the choice of the new Russian regions in Donbas to “be with the fatherland.”
Indeed, the nationalist aspirations of Freeland and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) may be to blame for the fact that Canada has provided the highest per-capita direct financial support to Ukraine in the G7, including $1.8 billion in military aid ranging from Leopard 2 tanks and air defense and artillery systems to armored vehicles, ammunition, and more. An investigation by Radio Canada found evidence that soldiers from the extremist Azov regiment, identified by patches on their clothing and other insignias, have participated in training with the Canadian Armed Forces.
And yet there is complete silence in the mainstream media regarding Freeland’s role in Canada’s Ukraine policy which is sure to be significant, nor in regard to her compromising personal history in connection with the question of nationalist extremism in Ukraine. Not a word …
A secondary omission in the coverage is in regard to those Ukrainian militants during WWII who did get on the right side of history. Some pundits have suggested that the fact that volunteers in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) were fighting against “communism” might mitigate their culpability. Setting aside this disturbing dismissal of the valuable contributions made by communists to social theory and action (a piece of propaganda that received so much reinforcement in the “Oppenheimer” movie this past summer); the historical reality is that the Red Army provided the true heroes in the fight against Nazi Germany.
No more evidence need be produced to prove this than the fact that over 20 million Soviet soldiers and citizens were killed during WWII in comparison to only 40 thousand Canadians, and it was the Red Army that liberated concentration camp victims at Auschwitz. Of course, the Ukrainian “partisans” who fought alongside the Soviet “communists” receive no mention in connection with the scandal now rocking the Canadian establishment.
The omission of Freeland’s role in the coverage of the “Nazi in Parliament” scandal, like the dog that didn’t bark, might raise questions in the reader’s mind about collusion between the mainstream media and the Government of Canada to silence critics of war in Ukraine. For one thing, war makes for good headlines, “if it bleeds it leads.”
At another level, the obvious inference is that this episode is a sign of a deep-lying conservatism, even anti-Semitism famously exposed in None is Too Many, that still pervades Canadian society.