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Canada: Parliament speaker apologises for celebrating a Nazi who killed Jews during WWII, Trudeau’s govt faces another humiliation

"Canada's Jewish community stands firmly with #Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression. But we can't stay silent when crimes committed by Ukrainians during the Holocaust are whitewashed", the CIJA had shared on the Parliament's celebration of a Nazi criminal.

On 24th September, Canadian Parliament speaker Anthony Rota apologised for celebrating a Nazi, Yaroslav Hunka, who had participated in the genocide against Jews during World War II. In his statement, Rota claimed that he was made aware of more information on Hunka that “caused” him to regret the decision to celebrate him. Furthermore, he claimed no one in the Parliament or among the Ukrainian delegation was aware of his intentions to celebrate Hunka during his address.

He said, “On Friday, 22nd September, in my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognised an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information, which causes me to regret my decision to do so. 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. This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention. I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”


Earlier, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs expressed their concerns over the matter. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), they said, “We are deeply troubled & disturbed that a Ukrainian veteran of the infamous 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS – which actively participated in the genocide of Jews – was celebrated with a standing ovation in the Canadian Parliament. Canada’s Jewish community stands firmly with #Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression. But we can’t stay silent when crimes committed by Ukrainians during the Holocaust are whitewashed.”

Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Official Opposition since 2022, has also raised objections to celebrating Hunka in the Parliament. He pointed out that Trudeau personally met and honoured Hunka. Accusing the ruling party of recognising a Nazi veteran on the floor of the House of Commons, he demanded an apology from the PM.

He said, “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). Liberals then arranged for this Nazi veteran to be recognised on the floor of the House of Commons during the visit of the Ukrainian President. This is an appalling error in judgment on the part of Justin Trudeau, whose personal protocol office is responsible for arranging and vetting all guests and programming for state visits of this kind. No parliamentarians (other than Justin Trudeau) had the opportunity to vet this individual’s past before he was introduced and honoured on the floor of the House of Commons. Without warning or context, it was impossible for any parliamentarian in the room (other than Mr Trudeau) to know of this dark past. Mr. Trudeau must personally apologise and avoid passing the blame to others as he always does.”

Canada celebrated Nazi soldier who fought for Hitler in World War II

On 22nd September, the Canadian House of Commons gave a standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka, a World War II veteran who fought for “Ukrainian independence” against Russian aggressors. This is how the speaker of the House, Anthony Rota, introduced him. The 98-year-old war veteran, however, was a member of a SS unit, the 14th SS-Volunteer Division “Galicia”, established in 1943 by the Nazis. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was also present during the occasion.

Notably, SS was the main paramilitary group under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany and was primarily responsible for tunning Holocaust operations. 14th SS-Volunteer Division Galicia was made up of volunteers, which means that Yaroslav Hunka joined the unit on his own will, and was not conscripted.

The war criminals of World War II and Canadian connections

The members of the First Ukrainian Division have been deemed war criminals by several experts. However, Canadian inquiry into their history did not recognise them as war criminals. Interestingly, there is clear evidence that Canada housed at least 3,000 war criminals. Canadian authorities established a commission to look into war criminals, and the commission headed by Justice Jules Deschenes submitted its report in December 1986 titled “Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes“. As per the report, the Canadian government had allowed over 2,000 war criminals from WWII to enter Canada despite the Canadian Jewish Congress’s opposition. The commission gave Hunko’s division “clean chit” due to the lack of evidence.

2014 Nazi Hunter Steve Rambam called Canada a safe haven for war criminals. Notably, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs also called out Canada in a recent statement for giving shelter to terrorists and gangsters.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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