« Anthony Rota, the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons issued an apology on Sunday for honouring a WWII veteran who served in a Nazi unit as a ‘Ukrainian hero’ during a parliamentary meeting.
Rota drew widespread condemnation from the Jewish community and others after thanking 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, who was reportedly a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, for his service during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the Canadian Parliament last Friday.
“It was my decision and my decision alone. This was a constituent who wanted to be here and I recognised him. It was my decision and I apologise profusely,” Rota told the house.
“I cannot tell you how dreadful it is and it may not be good enough for some of you and for that, I apologise,” he continued.
Hunka, who was standing in the gallery, received two standing ovations from the Canadian Parliament last Friday after being acknowledged by Rota for fighting against Russia for Ukrainian independence. The event was broadcast internationally.
“The intention was not to embarrass this house. The intention was to show what history was about and how it continues and how things should stop,” Rota explained.
“My sincere apologies to the house, to each and every one of you who are in the house today and to all Canadians for having been put through this,” he added.
Amid the fallout, the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged Rota to resign. Rota is scheduled to meet with party leaders of the House of Commons on Tuesday. »