Ukrainian Chrystia Freeland, twice minister of the Canadian government, says the world should be grateful to Ukraine for its courage
During Volodymyr Zelenskyy's speech in the Canadian Parliament in September of this year, one could not help but notice an attractive, smiling woman who applauded enthusiastically for our president. It was the ethnic Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Canada, Chrystia Freeland. Throughout her career, she has been consistent in her desire to support the homeland of her ancestors both in journalism and politics.
Originally from Ukraine
Сhrystia - Chrystyna Oleksandra - Freeland was born on August 2, 1968, in the town of Peace River in the Canadian province of Alberta, home to one of the country's largest Ukrainian communities. She speaks almost unaccented Ukrainian, along with English, French, Italian, and Russian. Her father Donald Freeland, who was a member of the Liberal Party, worked as a lawyer. Her mother, Halyna Khomiak, an ethnic Ukrainian, was born in Germany in a refugee camp. From there, she and her parents moved to Canada, where Chrystia's grandfather, Mykhailo, was a political immigrant journalist. Halyna, like her husband, received a law degree, worked as a lawyer, and ran for the NDP - New Democratic Party - in the 1988 federal election in Edmonton. Her parents divorced when Chrystyna was 9 years old, but she has a sister with whom they jointly own an apartment overlooking Kyiv's Independence Square.
Code name "Frida"
Chrystia attended high school in Edmonton, after which she received a scholarship from Alberta to attend the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy. Freeland received her bachelor's degree in Russian history and literature from Harvard University and her master's degree in Slavic studies from St. Anthony's College.
Freeland began her twenty-year career as a journalist in Ukraine, where she came on an exchange program. She worked as a stringer for the Ukrainian versions of such reputable publications as the Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The Economist, and was equally at home writing on both political and economic issues. During this time, she also wrote two books: "Sale of the Century" about the Russian Federation's transition from communism to capitalism and "Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else," which became a bestseller. Freeland's active work attracted the attention of Soviet intelligence. The KGB gave her the codename "Frida."
She was transferred from Kyiv to London, where she became deputy editor, then was British news editor, Moscow bureau chief, Eastern Europe correspondent, weekend edition editor and FT.com editor. From 1999 to 2001, Freeland worked as deputy editor-in-chief at the Canadian edition of the Globe and Mail, after which she held senior positions at the Financial Times USA and Thomson Reuters, and then worked as a columnist for the Globe and Mail.
Politics instead of journalism
However, despite her success in journalism, Freeland left it to pursue a political career. In July 2013, as a Liberal candidate, she won the election in Toronto's Central District, and after the 2015 election, she became Minister of International Trade. She then headed up the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in August 2020, she was appointed Canada's Minister of Finance, the first woman in the country to hold this position.
Chrystia Freeland is one of the most promising politicians not only in Canada but also in the world. In September 2022, the media predicted that she would become NATO Secretary General: her name had been discussed for several months as a possible candidate for Jens Stoltenberg's potential successor in international security and defense circles. Commenting on this news, Freeland said that she has enough work in the Canadian government, where she is both Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, so she is not ready for another serious workload. Stoltenberg's tenure as NATO chief has been extended, so Chrystia has time to mentally mature for this appointment, unless, of course, she takes the prime minister's seat in the near future: she is seen as Justin Trudeau's successor.
Balancing career and family
Chrystia Freeland does not advertise her personal life, but it is very difficult to hide anything from journalists. Despite the huge workload, she manages to keep a balance between her career and family. She is both a happy wife and a mother. Her husband is a writer and reporter for The New York Times, Graham Bowley, and their wedding was closed to the public and the press, attended only by fellow politicians, close relatives and friends. The couple has three children - daughters Natalia and Halia and son Ivan - and lives in Toronto in their own home, which they bought in 2013. Chrystia is devout and attends church with her family every Sunday.
Supporting Ukraine is a priority
One of the priorities of Freeland's political activities in Canada is Ukraine. In 2012, Freeland refuted the myth of Vladimir Putin as a "great strategist" who determines not only Russian but also world politics. In 2014, when Ukraine launched an anti-terrorist operation in Donbas, Freeland said that "Ukrainians fought back against terrorists." It was at this time that the Russian Federation put Chrystia on the sanctions list of politicians banned from entering the country, signed by Putin himself. In 2017, Freeland accused Russia of slander: Russian media reported that her grandfather, who was born in Ukraine, had allegedly been a Nazi collaborator in Poland during World War II.
During her tenure as Minister of International Trade and later as Minister of Foreign Affairs, she defended the interests of not only Canada but also our country at international forums in Ukrainian. "Every democratic politician in the world must support Ukraine today," she said.
Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Freeland, who calls on the world to "learn how to be democratic citizens and build a country from Ukrainians," has done much to ensure that Canada has provided humanitarian aid to our country, which is measured in tens of millions of dollars. Chrystia was also among those politicians who insisted on imposing sanctions against Russia and expanding comprehensive political, diplomatic, financial, military and humanitarian assistance to our country.
In May 2022, Freeland visited the liberated Irpin, where she was struck by the extent of the city's destruction. Chrystia then said that Ukraine can always count on Canada's support. Moreover, she believes that it is not Ukraine that should thank the world for its help, but rather the world should thank our country for its courage and resistance to Russian aggression. "Can you imagine what the world would be like if Ukrainians were not so courageous?" she said, commenting on Zelenskyy's speech. "What would happen if Kyiv was occupied and the president himself became a Russian puppet? What would Poland and the Baltic states be like then?"