Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “upsetting” and “embarrassing” after it was revealed Parliament had honored a man who previously served as a Nazi Waffen-SS soldier.
Last Friday, former Nazi soldier, Yaroslav Hunka, was honored in Canada’s Parliament as House Speaker Anthony Rota recognized Hunka as a Canadian-Ukrainian war hero.
Shortly after, Hunka was revealed to have belonged to a Nazi division during WWII.
“Obviously, it’s extremely upsetting that this happened,” Trudeau told reporters on Monday. “The Speaker acknowledged his mistake and has apologized.”
“This is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada and by extension to all Canadians,” he added.
NEW – Trudeau: "I think it's going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation."pic.twitter.com/CJQ2UOKP9U
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 25, 2023
Trudeau noted Jewish holiday Yom Kippur was currently underway and added it was “really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda [and] Russian disinformation and continue our steadfast and unequivocal support for Ukraine.”
Hunka’s honoring in the Canadian Parliament came during a session in which President Volodomyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine thanked the Canadian Parliament for the country’s support during Ukraine’s war with Russia.
“We have here in the chamber today a Ukrainian-Canadian veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today, even at his age of 98,” Rota said Friday introducing Hunka. “He’s a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service. Thank you.”
After Hunka’s past was revealed, Rota issued an apology.
“In my remarks following the address of the president of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery,” Rota said. “I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so.”
“No one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them,” Rota continued. “This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding [district] and having been brought to my attention.”
“I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my actions,” he said.
Several critics shared frustration over the Canadian Parliament’s mistake.
“How–after a lifetime of appearing in black face–does Justin Trudeau get caught applauding an SS soldier who fought with the Nazis, and then instantly starts babbling about ‘Russian disinformation?'” asked journalist and podcast host Glenn Greenwald. “Do you see how Western elites use RUSSIA to blame for all their failings?”
Canadian-based Rebel News founder Ezra Levant also noted Parliament’s mistake, saying it was a “roller coaster of a week” for former Nazi SS officer Hunka.
“For seventy years he has lived a quiet life in small-town Canada, trying not to be noticed by any Mossad Nazi-hunters,” Levant wrote. “In the twilight of his life, he was surely surprised to be contacted by the Canadian government — not to prosecute him but to celebrate his life and call him a war hero!”
What a roller coaster of a week it's been for Nazi SS officer Yaroslav Hunka!
For seventy years he has lived a quiet life in small-town Canada, trying not to be noticed by any Mossad Nazi-hunters.
In the twilight of his life, he was surely surprised to be contacted by the… pic.twitter.com/bQgsrC5iBI
— Ezra Levant 🍁🚛 (@ezralevant) September 25, 2023
“He went to Ottawa, brought his friends and family, and received a standing ovation from every MP in the room! His life was vindicated! He didn’t have to be ashamed of being a Nazi anymore — his own prime minister was cheering for him!” Levant continued. “Adolf Hitler would be so proud! But then someone told the truth about him. Not the regime media, like the newspaper run by Chrystias Freeland’s Nazi grandfather. But independent journalists. Including some Jews. And now Yaroslav Hunka has become the most famous Nazi in Canada.”
“I’m glad that, at least for the last months of his life, he will endure some of the shame that is so richly his. Unlike his victims, who were murdered in the prime of their lives,” he added.