Canadian House Speaker Resigns After Celebrating Nazi Soldier

On Tuesday, Canadian House Speaker Anthony Rota resigned amid significant backlash over a Nazi veteran being celebrated as a “hero” guest in parliament last week.

Rota invited former Waffen-SS soldier Yaroslav Hunka, 98, as a guest in parliament on Friday — just ahead of Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in Judaism. Hunka was given a standing ovation in parliament after a speech from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Nazi veteran was introduced as a Ukrainian and Canadian war hero who fought against the Soviet Union for Ukrainian independence in World War II.

However, it was later revealed that Hunka had fought on the side of Nazi Germany — serving in the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, which he volunteered for.

While the unit has not been officially convicted of war crimes, evidence suggests that the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division was responsible for killing Polish and Jewish civilians.

Following the backlash over celebrating the Nazi veteran as a “hero,” Rota announced his resignation on the floor of the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I rise to inform members of my resignation as speaker of the House of Commons. It is my greatest honor as a parliamentarian to have been elected by you, my peers, to serve as the speaker of the House of Commons for the 43rd and 44th parliament,” the Canadian House Speaker said.

Rota went on to say that he accepts “full responsibility” for the incident, claiming that he had “subsequently become aware of more information” about the Nazi veteran after the incident took place.

“This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding [district] and having been brought to my attention,” Rota said. “I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world.”

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a weak apology for the supposed “mistake” — while at the same time trying to blame “Russian propaganda” for the indictment, without providing any evidence or examples of the so-called “propaganda.”

“Obviously, it’s extremely upsetting that this happened. The speaker has acknowledged his mistake and apologized, but this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the parliament of Canada and, by extension, to all Canadians,” Trudeau told reporters on Monday.

“I think it’s going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation, and continue our steadfast, unequivocal support for Ukraine,” he added.

Canadian members of parliament across the political spectrum condemned the incident — with Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer blaming Trudeau’s office, pointing out that they had failed to do even “a straightforward Google search” on Hunka before allowing him to enter parliament.

“What kind of message does that send to Canada’s partners and allies around the world?” Scheer said in a speech on the floor of the House of Commons on Monday. “There was a Nazi in the Chamber.”

Liberal House Leader Karina Gould, who is Jewish, also spoke out about the “deeply embarrassing” incident — declaring it “hurtful” while also arguing that it should not be politicized and that the blame should not fall entirely on Rota.

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