Trudeau slammed as Nazi veteran honoured in Canada Parliament: ‘Embarrassing’
Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre accuses Canada PM Justin Trudeau of personally meeting and honouring a Nazi veteran.
Canada's leader of the opposition, Pierre Poilievre, launched a scathing attack at Prime Minister Justice Trudeau, alleging that he “personally met with and honoured” a veteran who fought for the Nazis during World War II. Terming it an “appalling error in judgment” on the part of Trudeau, Poilievre said that the prime minister's personal protocol office is responsible for arranging and vetting all guests and programming for state visits of this kind.
A major controversy erupted after Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian immigrant, was recognised as a war hero in Canada's House of Commons during a visit by President Volodymyr Zelensky. The speaker of Canada's parliament Anthony Rota 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.”
Following the speaker's acknowledgement of Hunka, the House gave him a standing ovation.
Rota on Sunday apologised for recognizing Hunka as a “Ukrainian hero”, adding that he regrets the decision to do so. He also took responsibility for what was characterized as an oversight, calling the initiative "entirely my own."
“I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them.”
However, Poilievre, a Conservative leader and Trudeau's rival, demanded an apology from the prime minister and asked him to “avoid passing the blame to others as he always does.”
“It has come out today that Justin Trudeau personally met with and honoured a veteran of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (a Nazi division). Liberals then arranged for this Nazi veteran to be recognized on the floor of the House of Commons during the visit of the Ukrainian President,” he wrote in a social media post on X (formerly Twitter).
“No parliamentarians (other than Justin Trudeau) had the opportunity to vet this individual’s past before he was introduced and honoured on the floor of the House of Commons. Without warning or context, it was impossible for any parliamentarian in the room (other than Mr. Trudeau) to know of this dark past,” he added.
“Mr. Trudeau must personally apologize and avoid passing the blame to others as he always does.”
Jason Cherniak, a Jewish lawyer from Richmond Hill who was present in the Parliament for Zelensky's speech, said he also stood up and applauded Hunka assuming he was a “partisan who fought communist occupation after WWII.”
“Now I’ve learned he was a volunteer member of an SS unit, I feel sick to my stomach.”
“As a Jew who was one of the people unknowingly applauding a Nazi soldier, I can hardly imagine a more embarrassing moment. Somebody had better take responsibility for it in a serious way. Everybody who was in that room needs to feel clean again,” he said in a series of posts on X.