Leader of Canada's House of Commons apologizes for honoring 'Nazi'09/25/2023
Leader of Canada’s House of Commons is forced to apologize after honoring a NAZI in the public gallery who fought in WWII – as 98-year-old is given round of applause by Justin Trudeau and visiting Zelensky
- Aired in a statement Sunday, the apology came from Anthony Rota – who claimed he recently became aware about Yaroslav Hunka’s history days earlier
- On Friday he erroneously introduced the 98-year-old as a Candaian war hero, even though he fought for the Waffen-SS Galicia Division during the conflict
- The introduction came moments after President Volodymyr Zelensky – who is Jewish – delivered an impassioned speech to the Canadian House of Commons
The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons has apologized for recognizing a man who fought for a Nazi military unit during World War II.
Aired in a statement Sunday, the apology came from Speaker Anthony Rota – who said he only recently became aware that a man he had celebrated during a Ukrainian delegation’s visit days earlier had served in a notorious Nazi war unit during WWII.
Instead, Rota – member of the Liberal Party – on Friday erroneously introduced 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka as a war hero, one who fought for the First Ukrainian Division in the years long conflict.
The ill-fated introduction came moments after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – hours after securing year another aide package from the US – delivered an impassioned, beseeching address to the Canadian House of Commons.
Afterwards, lawmakers gave Hunka a standing ovation, after Speaker Rota drew attention to him. In response, the elderly ex-Third Reich supporter was seen flashing a thumbs up, smiling at some of the country’s most important figures.
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Yaroslav Hunka, right, waits for the arrival of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the House of Commons in Ottawa Friday. The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons apologized Sunday for recognizing Hunka, who fought for a Nazi military unit during World War II
Aired in a statement Sunday, the apology came from Anthony Rota (at right) – who said he only just became aware that Hunka, 98, had served in a Nazi unit. Also in attendance were Justin Trudeau and Zelensky, who the speaker said had also been unaware of the veteran’s history
On Sunday, days after the apparent mishap, Rota, 62, issued a groveling statement.
‘In my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery,’ the speaker wrote, after calling Hunka both ‘a Ukrainian hero [and] a Canadian hero.’
‘I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so.’
The official responsible for all motions before the Candian House proceeded to distance himself from his fellow Parliament members – including the also-present Justin Trudeua – insisting none were aware of his plans to honor Hunka.
Rota also noted how Hunka is from his district, and went on to apologize to Canada’s more than 335,000 Jewish residents, and others offended by the flub across the globe.
‘I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world,’ he said.
‘I accept full responsibility for my actions.’ Hunka could not be immediately reached for comment.
Afterwards, lawmakers gave Hunka a standing ovation, after Speaker Rota drew attention to him. In response, the elderly ex-Third Reich supporter was seen flashing a thumbs up, smiling at some of Canada’s most important figures. He has yet to comment on the apparent mixup
After Zelensky delivered an address in the House of Commons on Friday, Canadian lawmakers gave the Hunka a standing ovation – after Rota drew attention to the senior by hailing him as both a ‘Canadian [and] Ukranian hero’
The Ukrainian politician’s visit came as part of the two country’s continued alliance against Russia, and after he secured year another multimillion-dollar aide package from the US
Members of Parliament from all parties rose to applaud Hunka. A spokesperson for the Conservative party said the party was not aware of his history at the time
Days earlier, the politician sang a markedly different tune regarding the visiting veteran’s history, hailing him as a ‘hero’ and even thanking him ‘for his service.’
Canadian lawmakers cheered and Zelensky raised his fist in acknowledgement as Hunka saluted from the gallery during two separate standing ovations – carried out by nearly all in attendance including Trudeau and and unknowing Zelensky.
He had been in Ottawa to bolster even more support from Western allies for his country’s war against the invading Russian Army – whose leader Vladimir Putin has painted his enemies in Ukraine and overseas as ‘neo-Nazis,’
Zelensky, meanwhile, is Jewish and lost relatives in the Holocaust, but has still yet to comment on the massive mix-up.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s office said in a statement that Rota had apologized and accepted full responsibility for issuing the invitation and for the recognition awarded in front of Parliament.
‘This was the right thing to do,’ the statement said of the speaker’s Sunday apology, insisting it came on Rota’s own volition.
‘No advance notice was provided to the Prime Minister’s Office, nor the Ukrainian delegation, about the invitation or the recognition,’ the prime minister’s team said.
Canadian lawmakers cheered and Zelensky raised his fist in acknowledgement as Hunka saluted from the gallery during two separate standing ovations – carried out by nearly all in attendance including Trudeau and and unknowing Zelensky
Zelensky, meanwhile, is Jewish and lost relatives in the Holocaust, but has still yet to comment on the massive mix-up
The First Ukrainian Division was also known as the Waffen-SS Galicia Division or the SS 14th Waffen Division, a voluntary unit that was under the command of the Nazis.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies issued a statement Sunday saying the division ‘was responsible for the mass murder of innocent civilians with a level of brutality and malice that is unimaginable.’
‘An apology is owed to every Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Second World War who fought the Nazis, and an explanation must be provided as to how this individual entered the hallowed halls of Canadian Parliament and received recognition from the Speaker of the House and a standing ovation,’ the statement said.
B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO, Michael Mostyn, said it was outrageous that Parliament honored a former member of a Nazi unit, saying Ukrainian ‘ultra-nationalist ideologues’ who volunteered for the Galicia Division ‘dreamed of an ethnically homogenous Ukrainian state and endorsed the idea of ethnic cleansing.’
‘We understand an apology is forthcoming. We expect a meaningful apology. Parliament owes an apology to all Canadians for this outrage, and a detailed explanation as to how this could possibly have taken place at the center of Canadian democracy,’ Mostyn said before Rota issued his statement.
Members of Parliament from all parties rose to applaud Hunka. A spokesperson for the Conservative party said the party was not aware of his history at the time.
‘We find the reports of this individual´s history very troubling,’ said Sebastian Skamski, adding that Trudeau´s Liberal party would have to explain why he was invited.
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