Canadian House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota resigned on Tuesday after receiving heavy criticism for hosting a Ukrainian veteran who fought in a Nazi battalion during WWII.
Calls for Rota’s resignation began after he invited and hosted Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old veteran who fought in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS during the Third Reich, in the House of Commons during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Canada on Friday. Hunka received thunderous applause from Rota, Zelenskyy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Parliament; only later was it discovered that Hunka was a former Nazi soldier.
“No one in this House is above any of us. Therefore, I must step down as your speaker,” Rota said in Parliament on Tuesday, as reported by Rebel News Canada. “I reiterate my profound regret for my error in recognizing an individual in the House during the joint address to Parliament of President Zelenskyy.”
Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons RESIGNS after inviting a man who fought for the NAZIS to attend a speech from President Zelensky pic.twitter.com/YSAejjQiQw
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 26, 2023
“That public recognition has caused pain to individuals and communities, including the Jewish community in Canada and around the world, and survivors of Nazi atrocities in Poland among other nations,” Rota said. “I accept full responsibility for my actions. My resignation is effective at the end of the sitting day tomorrow.”
Poland’s Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek has moved to extradite Hunka, according to a letter posted to X. Czarnek requested Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance to “urgently examine” whether Hunka was responsible for war crimes against Poles with Jewish heritage during WWII.
Trudeau said Rota made a “deeply embarrassing” error in honoring Hunka, but shifted focus and asked Canadians to watch out for “Russian propaganda” during a press gaggle on Monday.
“Obviously it’s extremely upsetting that this happened… this is something that is deeply embarrassing for the parliament of Canada and by extension to all Canadians,” Trudeau said on Monday. “Jewish MPs and all members of the Jewish community are commemorating Yom Kippur today.”
“I think it’s going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation,” Trudeau said. “I 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.”
Rota was not immediately available for comment.
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