Building a Cohesive Canada

Written by Harold McNeill on January 25th, 2020. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts, Editorials


An Alberta born farm-girl whose mother was an immigrant of Ukranian descent has made her mark on the world stage and now sits at the centre of power in Ottawa. While this young woman has gained the respect of Canadians and many around the world, why would Albertans choose to forget her? Is it because she’s in the wrong party?

“Chrystia Freeland has put Canadian foreign policy back on track, making Canada a leader on several foreign policy fronts like human rights, security, and working with Canada’s allies to maintain the rule-based order. Despite Canadians self-identifying their government as promoting human rights and democratic freedoms, principled foreign policy has not always been a priority for previous governments.”   (MLI Policy Maker of the Year)

Tim Horton’s Morning Post (Jan 25, 2020):

Building a Cohesive Canada

In my morning read it’s not often I find a double-page report of an interview in the National Post that speaks so candidly and supportive of a Liberal politician whose leadership is truly inspiring.

The interview with Freeland took place in Edmonton and appeared in a post article titled, “Freeland proud to be earnest and idealistic” (Edward Luce (A8, A9)). As with many (perhaps most) Canadians, I like Chrystia Freeland, a Peace River farm-girl whose mother was born as a displaced person in a US Military Camp in Germany shortly after the end of WWII.

Both Chrystia’s father and mother became lawyers as well as farmers in the Peace River District and because Ms. Freeland excelled in the early years of her education,  she was able to attend Harvard on an Alberta Government scholarship. After graduating, she earned a Masters at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She then entered journalism and worked her way up in the field at the Financial Times, Washington Post, the Economist, Globe and Mail and various other national
and international news agencies.

It was not until 2013 she left journalism to enter politics and at every level, Ms. Freeland demonstrated she is a force to be reconded with. Not only does she set high standards, but she also does so while unequivocally supporting and encouraging all those around her. Ms. Freeland obviously understands shades of gray that define politics. (1)

While I sit on the Liberal bench, at the same time I do not hide my support for many aspects of both the NDP and Greens. In that regard, I think the left holds most of the cards when it comes to balancing the interests of the majority of Canadians in a country that is the most ethnically diverse in the world. Take a moment to read a few
statistics in this document, Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada. While Freeland clearly understands and accepts that diversity as being an integral part of Canada, she also understands the business world, and the delicate balances that exist in our society. (2)

This quote from Ms. Freeland, “I happen to be a Ukrainian Canadian. When I moved to Toronto I had an instant community of Ukrainian Canadians. There’s a community there that my kids can immediately experience in Edmonton or Saskatoon. Or the same for Sikh Canadians.” (From the NP article).d

Having read her papers, I rather think Freeland might have become a reasonably
astute Conservative had her world unfolded in that manner. I hasten to add it would not be a world in the mold of Kenny, Ford, Scheer or several others who seek leadership of the party.  An Alberta friend, Maggie Corns, suggested it would be interesting to have a National election that cast Chrystia Freeland against Rona Ambrose. Indeed it would and, perhaps, at some point in the future, that just might happen.

What we don’t need in the world today is another country playing the race card as a means to divide and conquer as is the path being followed by Britain, the United States and a few others in the European Union.  In that mix, I  include Quebec, however, I think part of the reason Quebec tends to follow that path, is the decades of struggle they faced in trying to shed the yoke placed upon them by the Catholic Church, a yoke that through dogma and symbols controlled almost every aspect to Quebec life.  Unfortunately, over the past couple of elections, the Conservatives have been all too quick to use the race card as a lever with Maxime Bernier, the man who was barely edged from the leadership of the party by Andrew Scheer, is the most egregious example.

I encourage you to take fifteen minutes to read the National Post article about Ms. Freeland. All things being equal Ms. Freedland will continue to rise and at some point could become the second woman to sit in the Prime Ministers office (3). Not only is she is a young woman, a farm girl who grew up in Northern Alberta, she is also a distinguished academic, journalist, negotiator, and politician who has stood against the toughest and most erratic people in the world and she has prevailed. (4)

Both President Trump and President Putin intensely dislike the woman, with President Putin going so far as to ban her from entering Russia.  In my opinion, both men realized they could not beat her back at any level, therefore choose to employ the tactics of every bully, that of trying to belittle or exclude her.

Harold

(1)  SNC Lavalin is the most recent example of how shades of gray can blend into the political landscape and how it can be played both for and against a government in their everyday decisions.  It would be nice to live in a world that’s clearly black and white but the danger in that is deciding which colour is which.

(2)  “Freeland is the author of Sale of the Century, a 2000 book about Russia’s journey from communism to capitalism[4] and Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else in 2012.  Plutocrats was a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the 2013 Lionel Gelber Prize for non-fiction reporting on foreign affairs.[7] It also won the 2013 National Business Book Award for the most outstanding Canadian business-related book.”

(3) Kim Campbell was the first woman to sit in office after succeeding Brian Mulrooney when he resigned in June 1993.  With only two months left in the five-year term, she lost her seat in the November election in which the Liberals came back to power under the leadership of Jean Chrétien.

(4) A Toronto Star writer, Heather Mallick, better captures many of my thoughts about our Deputy Prime Minister in her article, “Chrystia Freeland is the smartest federal minister we have

(5) And this from the Globe and Mail today (January 27, 2020) “The Conservatives don’t just need a new leader, they need to decide who they are.”

 

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.