Canadian parliament speaker resigns over tribute to Nazi veteran

Canadian parliament speaker Anthony Rota resigns over tribute to Nazi veteran. (Photo/Reuters)

The speaker of Canada's parliament has resigned days after he singled out a Ukrainian veteran who apparently fought for the Nazis during World War II for a standing ovation during a visit by Ukraine's leader.

"It is with a heavy heart that I rise to inform members of my resignation as Speaker of the House of Commons," Anthony Rota told lawmakers from the parliamentary floor on Tuesday, expressing his "profound regret for my error."

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

Yaroslav Hunka's parliamentary recognition "caused pain to individuals and communities, including to the Jewish community in Canada and around the world, in addition to Nazi survivors in Poland, among other nations," Rota added.

'Growing pressure'

Rota had been facing growing pressure to step down after the incident on Friday, during a visit by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to parliament.

At the time, Rota paid homage to Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian immigrant who was also visiting parliament and who is from Rota's electoral district.

He hailed Hunka as "a Ukrainian-Canadian war veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians" and "a Ukrainian hero and a Canadian hero," prompting a standing ovation from members.

But Hunka actually served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, "a Nazi military unit whose crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are well-documented," according to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Jewish advocacy group called the incident "shocking" and "incredibly disturbing."


Source: TRT