The Deputy Prime Minister of Canada seems to have forgotten Western colonial history. Perhaps, she has forgotten the West’s murdering, mutilating, and enslaving, Africans while stealing resources from the continent for centuries. Which is why she didn’t even hesitate a bit in making big statements about Africa’s democracy.
Chrystia Freeland recently made some statements that landed her in controversy. Speaking at a Brookings Institutions event in Washington, DC, deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland was asked about Western support for African countries.
A participant at the seminar who is from Africa and works for the African Development Bank inquired about the Western governments’ signals that African nations wouldn’t be getting much support and that Ukraine was clearly given top priority. To which Freeland responded, “I think that is an excellent question, and something I am very preoccupied with. And I think I’m going to start actually by just gently interrogating two words you used, which are about ‘African countries falling into the hands of Russia,’ and ‘African countries backsliding.’
But now, perhaps she has acknowledged that her comments could prove to be a career-killing move. According to Globalnews, she has now apologised. Chrystia Freeland says she did not mean to offend anyone after saying last week that Africans must be “prepared to die for their democracy,” and hinting that Canada might boost aid to the continent.
“If anyone did find my comments to be insensitive, then I’m very sorry,” Freeland said Monday.
“If a white western person has offended someone, the first answer is to say, `I really didn’t mean to offend you.”’
In a speech last week in Washington, Freeland urged democracies to strengthen their links through trade and energy cooperation in light of the worrisome new global order in which autocracies are attempting to hijack democracy.
After the speech, during the question and answer period, a man claiming to work for the African Development Bank asked Freeland about how the west has hinted at cutting aid to the continent in order to pay for Ukraine’s needs.
The unnamed man, whose identity The Canadian Press was unable to ascertain, requested Freeland’s comment in response to worries that this would simply strengthen Russia’s influence on that continent.
Freeland stated that Western nations must do more and “prove we’re real partners.” However, she said that it is up to African nations to determine their own courses and dismissed the notion that they could accidentally enter Russia’s orbit.
“A democracy can only be defended by people themselves if they’re actually prepared to die for their democracy,” she said last week.
The remark drew criticism on social media and sparked questions among specialists in Africa.
Abrahamsen, the director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, says “Emotions are running high around this on the African continent, and it means that words have to be judged very carefully,” she said.
However, Freeland has now acknowledged that her African misadventure could be a career-killing move and is therefore on a course-correction spree. She even made a suggestion that the next budget might allocate more humanitarian aid to Africa and mentioned Canada’s efforts to change international financial organizations so they better meet the needs of developing countries.
Freeland’s reply was truly heinous and was bound to hurt the sentiments of the Africans. Western nations have interfered in African democracies since those nations gained independence in the 1960s, aiding military coups and assassinating elected officials. Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of the Congo, was also assassinated by the Canadian government. And Canada’s deputy Prime Minister should not forget that. As a top official, she must get rid of her imperial mindset.