Canada’s speaker of the House of Commons issued an apology after he asked the Parliament to give a standing ovation last week to a 98-year-old Nazi Waffen-SS soldier.
Anthony Rota asked the Parliament to give a standing ovation while in the presence of the visiting Ukrainian President Zelensky.
Canada’s house Speaker issued the apology Sunday, claiming his decision to honor Nazi Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian who fought with the 14th “Galicia” division of the Waffen-SS in the Second World War, was down to him.
“I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them,” Rota said.
“This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention,” he added.
“I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Rota further stated.
Rota acknowledged Hunka for fighting for Ukrainian independence against the Russians.
Several human rights and Jewish organizations condemned the recognition, saying Hunka served in a Nazi military.
“Hunka, who immigrated to Canada after serving in the 14th Waffen SS – a Nazi unit whose members swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler during WWII – received a standing ovation from members of Parliament and senators in attendance,” Jewish human rights organization B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement.
B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO, Michael Mostyn, said the Parliament’s recognition of Hunka is “beyond outrageous.”
“We cannot allow the whitewashing of history,” Mostyn said.
“Canadian soldiers fought and died to free the world from the evils of Nazi brutality,” he added.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to Rota’s remarks, demanding an apology.
“At a time of rising antisemitism and Holocaust distortion, it is incredibly disturbing to see Canada’s Parliament rise to applaud an individual who was a member of a unit in the Waffen-SS, a Nazi military branch responsible for the murder of Jews and others,” the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center said.
“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 group added.
To honor one of Hitler’s henchmen is hardly a “common error.”
As the chamber gave a resounding applause, Zelensky punched the air while standing next to Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.
Canadian Parliament and Zelensky give a standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka, who fought for the 14th division of the Waffen SS pic.twitter.com/7WrD3vchZ8— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) September 24, 2023
Rota praised Hunka, telling MPs that he is a “veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today even at his age of 98.”
However, Rota failed to mention that Hunka is a Nazi.
🚨🚨 The Canadian Parliament along with Justin Trudeau and Zelensky just honored an actual Nazi. Read this whole thread 👇🏻 https://t.co/OdWSUdUWcj— Chaya Raichik (@ChayaRaichik10) September 24, 2023
Here is how the Nazi solider ended up living a decent life in Canada:
How did 2,000 members of Hitler’s SS come to Canada after World War 2 and why did the Canadian government allow that to happen? My latest article: The RCAF Officer Who Brought Hitler’s Waffen SS to Canada https://t.co/5tBVDi4F3u— David Pugliese (@davidpugliese) November 3, 2020
Given the fact that Trudeau likes to throw around the word ‘Nazi’ when describing anyone he disagrees with, he should also be held accountable.
It has come out today that Justin Trudeau personally met with and honoured a veteran of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (a Nazi division).— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) September 24, 2023
Liberals then arranged for this Nazi veteran to be recognized on the floor of the House of Commons during the visit of the… https://t.co/9JFUEqsdW8
According to Reuters, Rota added in his statement that no one, including fellow parliamentarians or the Ukrainian delegation, was aware of his plans or remarks beforehand.