Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland participated in a panel discussion Monday in Toronto that compared President Donald Trump to world dictators.
Freeland joined New Yorker journalist Masha Gessen and Indigo CEO Heather Reisman at the “Taking on the Tyrant” forum to discuss “the rise of the autocrats, who use fear, who use corruption, who use anti-immigration sentiment to crack down on free press [and] rule of law to undermine democracy.”
Freeland is the lead negotiator in Canada’s stalled talks with the United States for a renegotiated NAFTA.
Moderator Reisman noted the tremendous applause the Freeland received from the crowd, saying, “We love her.” She called Freeland and Gessen “two fabulous, strong women” that were prepared to take on “strong men.”
In an online video, Trump is depicted as a tyrant undermining democracy, along with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It includes a video clip of Trump at a rally, telling the crowd that the mainstream media produces “fake, fake, disgusting news.”
Although Freeland never specifically mentioned Trump by name in her discourse, she claimed that everybody has to “fight back for liberal democracy” and criticize regimes that restrict immigration and diversity: “It’s always easiest to blame the other country; it’s easiest to blame the person who has just arrived.”
Conservative Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel tweeted her disgust:
There are a lot of people’s jobs riding on Freeland and Trudeau getting a deal on NAFTA. It requires strength, shrewdness, persistence, and diplomacy to get it done. None of that here. I mean, even the US President hasn’t gone as far as to attend an anti-Trudeau event. https://t.co/kNPzkEi1MP
— Michelle Rempel (@MichelleRempel) September 12, 2018
Freeland said she was “so proud to be Canadian” and to work for a prime minister like Justin Trudeau who, she told the crowd, frequently tells his Liberal caucus that “Canada didn’t happen by accident.”