Canadian lawmakers give a standing ovation to a man introduced as a war hero, later discover he served in Nazi unit.
In a major embarrassment for Ottawa, the Canadian lawmakers gave a standing ovation to a man who was introduced as a war hero after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address in the House of Commons only to later realise that he had served in a Nazi unit during World War II.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recognize Yaroslav Hunka, who was in attendance in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023.(AP)
The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons apologized Sunday for recognizing 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka as a “Ukrainian hero” before the Canadian Parliament. Hunka served in World War II as a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, according to a Jewish human rights group that demanded an apology.
“In my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so,” Rota said in a statement.
Rota took responsibility for what was characterized as an oversight, calling the initiative “entirely my own.”
“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.”
“The initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention,” he added, adding his “deepest apologies” to Jewish communities.
Yaroslav Hunka, right, waits for the arrival of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Onatario on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023.(AP)
Following Zelenskiy’s address in the House of Commons, Rota acknowledged Hunka, who was seated in the gallery, praising him for fighting for Ukrainian independence against the Russians. Hunka received two standing ovations from those gathered.
“At a time of rising antisemitism and Holocaust distortion, it is incredibly disturbing to see Canada’s Parliament rise to applaud an individual who was a member of a unit in the Waffen-SS, a Nazi military branch responsible for the murder of Jews and others,” the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement while demanding an apology earlier Sunday.
“An explanation must be provided as to how this individual entered the hallowed halls of Canadian Parliament and received recognition from the Speaker of the House and a standing ovation,” the group added.
On Friday, September 22 Trudeau also announced another support to Ukraine:
- A new investment of $650 million over three years to supply Ukraine with 50 armoured vehicles, including armoured medical evacuation vehicles, built by Canadian workers in London, Ontario.
He also announced the following allocation as part of the $500 million in funding for military assistance to Ukraine announced while he was in Kyiv in June 2023:
- $76 million for 35 high resolution drone cameras and in-service support;
- $30 million for the Leopard 2 Maintenance and Service Centre in Poland;
- Support for the Joint Coalition on F-16 Training to support the training of Ukrainian pilots;
- A large package of NATO-standard small arms ammunition; and
- $33 million for a United Kingdom-led partnership that is delivering high priority air defence equipment to Ukraine, including air defence missiles to help Ukraine defend against Russia’s missile and drone attacks, as announced earlier this week.
To support peace, security, and stabilization for Ukraine, the Prime Minister announced an additional $8.3 million as follows:
- $4.3 million to strengthen nuclear security measures at the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, replacing equipment destroyed or stolen during Russia’s short-lived occupation of the site in 2022;
- More than $1.7 million in new funding for Canadian NGO eQualitie to continue its work to enhance the cyber resilience of Ukrainian civil society to cyber attacks;
- Approximately $2 million in new funding for Canadian NGO Parliamentary Centre to continue providing technical assistance and support to the Ukrainian Parliament; and
- Approximately $250,000 for Ukrainian NGO Building Ukraine Together (BUR) to support a community-level youth engagement and recovery initiative.
Justin Trudeau said: “Canada will stand with Ukraine with whatever it takes, for as long as it takes. As Ukrainians continue to fight for their freedom and their democracy, our support will be unequivocal until they are victorious. Slava Ukraini!”
Seems like Ukraine is so much closer to Prime Minister than Canadians, who just will pay this contribution. It’s shame, that we have millions for Zelenskiy’s corrupted regime, but we don’t have enough to fight the wildfires properly. Or is it all just plan on big chess- board and we are just silent observers in our own collaps?