Free­land right to call out Venezuela

Ottawa Sun - - COMMENT -

It’s time for a game of “guess who said it?” Read the below quote and try to guess who in Canada said the fol­low­ing just last Fri­day:

“To­day, Ni­colás Maduro’s regime loses any re­main­ing ap­pear­ance of le­git­i­macy. Hav­ing seized power through fraud­u­lent and anti-demo­cratic elec­tions held on May 20, 2018, the Maduro regime is now fully en­trenched as a dic­ta­tor­ship. The suf­fer­ing of Venezue­lans will only worsen should he con­tinue to il­le­git­i­mately cling to power.”

Could it be Con­ser­va­tive leader An­drew Scheer? Or some cen­treright po­lit­i­cal pun­dit? Maybe one of your favourite Sun colum­nists?

After all, this is a pretty firm con­dem­na­tion of the so­cial­ist leader of Venezuela, a coun­try that’s been slid­ing into eco­nomic hell thanks first to Hugo Chavez and then his suc­ces­sor, Maduro.

Here’s the an­swer: For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land. That’s right, a lead­ing cab­i­net min­is­ter in the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. The same Trudeau who pre­vi­ously said he ad­mires China’s “ba­sic dic­ta­tor­ship” and who with “deep sor­row” eu­lo­gized Fidel Cas­tro for his “tremen­dous ded­i­ca­tion and love for the Cuban peo­ple”.

The same gov­ern­ment that seems to have lit­tle prob­lem with so­cial­ist and Com­mu­nist regimes that make life dif­fi­cult for their own peo­ple. That’s why it was a pleas­ant sur­prise to read Free­land was the au­thor of those pow­er­ful words.

It’s true she did not of­fer a whole­sale de­nounce­ment of so­cial­ism but her as­sess­ment of Maduro was fair and hon­est.

In fact, Free­land re­it­er­ated that Canada has sanc­tions against dozens of Venezue­lan of­fi­cials and has called for the sit­u­a­tion to be re­ferred to the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court.

The gov­ern­ment is right to take a stand on these is­sues, not just in word but in ac­tion. And the sanc­tions are a good way to go about that.

But while Free­land’s words mat­ter, Trudeau’s mat­ter even more. To date, he’s de­nounced the cri­sis only as “the fail­ure of lead­er­ship in Venezuela.”

In com­par­i­son, to give but one ex­am­ple, Pres­i­dent Trump has said, “vir­tu­ally ev­ery­where so­cial­ism or com­mu­nism has been tried, it has pro­duced suf­fer­ing, cor­rup­tion and de­cay.”

It would be great if Trudeau came out swing­ing not just against Maduro, but the dread­ful and failed ide­ol­ogy of so­cial­ism as well.

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