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Friday, July 12, 2024

Canadian Parliament Speaker resigns due to Nazi veteran tribute

The Canadian Parliament Speaker resigned on Tuesday, shortly after publicly honoring a Ukrainian veteran with ties to the Nazis during World War II. Anthony Rota faced mounting pressure to step down after it was revealed that the veteran had served in a Nazi-affiliated military unit.Canada parliament speaker resigns after tribute to Nazi veteran

Rota had praised Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian immigrant from his electoral district, during a visit by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, it was later disclosed that Hunka had been part of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, a Nazi unit implicated in Holocaust atrocities.Canada House speaker Anthony Rota and Yaroslav Hunka.

In his resignation statement to lawmakers, Rota expressed deep regret for his error and the pain it caused to Jewish communities in Canada and worldwide. The incident raised concerns about Russia’s accusations against the Ukrainian government of endorsing Nazi ideals.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Rota’s remarks as shameful, and several political parties had called for his resignation. Rota, first elected in 2004 and serving as Speaker since 2019, had previously apologized, citing new information that led him to regret his earlier statements about Hunka.

During Zelensky’s visit, Canada pledged additional aid to Ukraine, which has faced conflict with Russian forces since 2022. Russia has accused Ukrainian leaders of being “neo-Nazis” to justify its actions.

In response to the incident, the Kremlin called it “outrageous sloppiness of memory,” while Poland’s Education Minister raised the possibility of seeking Hunka’s extradition for crimes against Poles or Polish Jews.

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