In a surprising turn of events, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, Anthony Rota, has tendered his resignation following the celebration of a Ukrainian veteran who fought for a Nazi military unit during World War II. Rota, who praised Yaroslav Hunka as a Ukrainian-Canadian war hero during a joint address to parliament by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has faced immense backlash from human rights organizations and the Jewish community.
The recognition of Hunka, who served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, has been widely condemned as it aligns with a group that was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Organizations like B’nai Brith Canada have criticized the Ukrainian volunteers in the unit for their ultra-nationalist ideologies and support for the idea of ethnic cleansing.
Rota, a member of the Liberal party, expressed profound regret for his error and accepted full responsibility for his actions. Realizing the pain caused to individuals and communities, including the Jewish community in Canada and survivors of Nazi atrocities, Rota decided to step down from his position as Speaker. This decision was made to uphold the integrity of the House of Commons.
While Rota’s recognition of Hunka initially garnered a standing ovation, it was later deemed deeply embarrassing by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn emphasized the importance of acknowledging the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers who fought against Nazi brutality, stating that history cannot be whitewashed.
In his apology, Rota explained that he became aware of additional information that led him to regret his decision to recognize Hunka. He took full responsibility for acknowledging Hunka, emphasizing that no one else was privy to his intention or remarks prior to their delivery.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the significance of understanding historical context and the careful consideration required when publicly recognizing individuals. It also highlights the responsibility of individuals in positions of power to thoroughly research and verify the backgrounds of those they choose to celebrate.
1. Why did the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons resign?
– The Speaker, Anthony Rota, resigned after he praised a Ukrainian veteran who fought for a Nazi military unit during World War II, causing significant controversy and backlash.
2. What unit did the Ukrainian veteran serve in?
– The Ukrainian veteran, Yaroslav Hunka, served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, which was declared a criminal organization for its involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
3. What was the reaction to the recognition of the Ukrainian veteran?
– Human rights organizations and the Jewish community condemned the recognition, stating that the unit in which Hunka served had ultra-nationalist ideologies and endorsed the idea of ethnic cleansing.
4. Who took responsibility for the recognition?
– Anthony Rota, the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, accepted full responsibility for the recognition of Hunka, stating that it was his decision alone.
5. Why did the Speaker resign?
– The Speaker resigned to uphold the integrity of the House of Commons and in recognition of the pain caused to individuals and communities, including the Jewish community and survivors of Nazi atrocities.