Canada’s parliament speaker resigns after tribute to Nazi veteran

Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian Second World War veteran who served in a Nazi unit, was lauded as a 'Canadian hero' in Parliament

Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota appears during Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Reuters
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Anthony Rota, Speaker of Canada's House of Commons, resigned on Tuesday, days after he honoured a Ukrainian veteran who fought in a Nazi unit during the Second World War.

“It is with a heavy heart that I rise to inform members of my resignation as Speaker of the House of Commons,” Mr Rota told MPs from the parliamentary floor, expressing his “profound regret for my error”.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Mr Rota continued, saying his resignation would be effective by the end of Wednesday.

Mr Rota, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, invited Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian veteran, to attend a speech given by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the House of Commons on Friday.

The Speaker referred to Mr Hunka as a “Canadian hero”, and the nonagenarian subsequently received a standing ovation.

It later emerged that Mr Hunka had fought in the First Ukrainian Division, which was under Nazi control.

Canadians expressed shock and horror that parliamentarians unwittingly praised a Nazi fighter.

On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the incident “deeply embarrassing” and “extremely upsetting”.

Mr Rota apologised on Sunday for inviting Mr Hunka after he said he had “become aware of more information”.

Canada's Parliament gives standing ovation to Ukrainian man who fought in Nazi unit

Canada's Parliament gives standing ovation to Ukrainian man who fought in Nazi unit
Updated: September 27, 2023, 10:28 AM