The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons resigned on Tuesday following an uproar over a former Nazi soldier received a standing ovation on parliament last week.
Yaroslav Hunka, 98, was introduced in the House of Commons lower chamber by Speaker, Anthony Rota, who called him a “Ukrainian hero.”
Hunka received standing ovations by parliament members due to his role in fighting for Ukrainian independence against Russia. But the “First Ukrainian Division” which Hunka was part of was also known as the Waffen-SS Galicia Division and fell under command of Nazi Germany.
“No one in this House is above any of us. Therefore I must step down as your speaker. I reiterate my profound regret for my error in recognising an individual in the House during the joint address to Parliament of President Zelensky,” said Anthony Rota, the Speaker of House of Commons lower chamber.
“That public recognition has caused pain to individuals and communities, including to the Jewish community in Canada and around the world in addition to Nazi survivors in Poland among other nations. I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Rota added.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lambasted the incident on Monday after Hunka’s past was exposed, saying: “This is something that is deeply embarrassing to the parliament of Canada and by extension, to all Canadians, I think particularly of Jewish MPs and all members of the Jewish community across the country who are celebrating, commemorating Yom Kippur today.”
“I think it’s going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation, and continue our steadfast and unequivocal support for Ukraine as we did last week with announcing further measures to stand with Ukraine in Russia’s illegal war against it.”
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