A little bit on the NDP's over-the-top attack on Chrystia Freeland's grandfather.

I'm going to approach this from a human factors perspective, because the attacks are making a number of very broad assumptions that deserve to be addressed. /1
First of all, C. Freeland was born in 1968 - 20 years after the end of WWII.

This is significant. Her grandfather was born in 1905, so he was 63 when she was born. /2
That means, for all intents and purposes, she came to know him in the 1970s, and he passed away when she was 16 - still a high school student. /3
I grew up in that same era, and I had relatives who fought in WWII. Not one of them would talk about their roles in the war when I was growing up.

They didn't talk about what they did, what they saw, whether it was good or bad.

They. Did. Not. Talk. About. It. /4
Within C. Freeland's family, we don't know what the "family story" around her grandfather was.

Nor should we. /5
People who immigrated to Canada post-WWII, especially those who came from Nazi-occupied countries, walked a very tense line.

Talking about what happened to them during the war wasn't safe, and entire families made up fictional pasts for themselves. /6
Grandchildren especially would be given filtered versions of stories, because frankly, who wants to tell a child that their grandfather did something awful during a war? /7
What exactly the nature of this was within C. Freeland's family was, we do not know.

Nor should we. /8
Ms. Freeland has the unenviable task of coming to terms with her grandfather's past actions and her family's actions since coming to Canada.

Presumably she knows more about the reality today than when she was growing up. /9
... But ... and it's a big but ...

If someone came to you and demanded you repudiate your grandfather for his past deeds that happened before you were even born, do you think you could do that easily? /10
Grandparents hold a special place in our lives - they are often ideals, the kindly older relatives that take us for ice cream when we're 4 years old. /11
What they did decades before we came into existence doesn't even register on our young minds. /12
If someone came to me demanding I repudiate a relative for some past deed as an act of political contrition, I'd likely as not tell them to take a flying leap at themselves on principle alone. /13
If you want to criticize Ms. Freeland today, that's fine. But maybe that criticism should be about her political views and actions rather than what her grandfather did decades before she was even born. /14
She has a considerable body of published work that she has done, and a non-trivial track record as a politician. Perhaps it would be more productive to invest energies there rather than visiting upon her a past that is complex and murky. /15
It is, in my view, the worst of crass politics being played out right now. /16
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