Canada's Justin Trudeau apologises after Nazi veteran honoured in parliament
Justin Trudeau formally apologised after the speaker of the House of Commons praised a Nazi veteran in the chamber while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was present. Trudeau also said Ottawa had already reached out to Kyiv and Zelenskiy through diplomatic channels to apologise.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday formally apologised after the speaker of the House of Commons praised a Nazi veteran in the chamber while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was present. Additionally, Trudeau stated that Ottawa had previously apologised to Kyiv and Zelenskiy through diplomatic channels.
Trudeau said the speaker of the House of Commons, who resigned Tuesday, was “solely responsible” for the invitation and recognition of the man but said it was a mistake that has deeply embarrassed Parliament and Canada.
"On behalf of all of us in this House, I would like to present unreserved apologies for what took place on Friday and to President Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian delegation for the position they were put in," Trudeau told the House on Wednesday.
"It was a dreadful error and an insult to the memories of those who endured such suffering at the hands of the Nazi dictatorship for any of us to have unwittingly recognised this person," he added.
After openly praising veteran Yaroslav Hunka in the House last Friday and referring to him as a hero, Anthony Rota resigned as speaker of the house on Tuesday and claimed entire responsibility for what transpired. Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian of Polish descent, served in one of Adolf Hitler's Waffen SS divisions during World War Two. Later, he moved to Canada.
Yaroslav Hunka, 98, received a standing ovation from Canadian parliamentarians when the Ukrainian President spoke in the House of Commons on Friday.
Speaker of the House Anthony Rota resigned on Tuesday after meeting with the party leaders of the House of Commons, prompting a significant response. Leader of the House Government Karina Gould alleged that Rota invited and recognised Hunka without notifying the government or the Ukrainian delegation, and that his lack of due care had damaged parliamentarians' faith in him.