Canada’s House of Commons speaker resigned on Tuesday after he again apologized for introducing a 98-year-old Ukrainian man who served in the Nazi SS as a “hero” just after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed a joint session of parliament.
Speaker Anthony Rota introduced Yaroslav Hanka from his constituency on Friday as a “Ukrainian hero, Canadian hero” in Who’s Who.
But in the days that followed, many Jewish groups expressed anger and outrage, Mr. Hunga was a member of the volunteer Nazi unit known as the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, which fought alongside Germany during World War II and declared allegiance. To Adolf Hitler.
After days of calls for his resignation, Mr. Rota announced his resignation on a day when he was scheduled to host an annual garden party at his official country home.
“This House is beyond any of us,” he told fellow lawmakers. “I reiterate my deep regret.”
Mr. Rota made his call and Mr. Hanka initially apologized over the weekend for both his introduction, and noted that he “learned more information later.”
The first calls for his resignation came from Jagmeet Singh, leader of the left-wing New Democratic Party. They met with leaders of all parties in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Rota served as a prelude to a planned lunchtime meeting.
Prior to Mr. Rota’s announcement, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Affairs Minister, the Industries Minister and the Leader of the Government in the Lok Sabha had all told reporters that he should step down.
“What happened was completely unacceptable and a very damaging event indeed,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said. “I hope the speaker will reflect on how serious and harmful this is, and do the honorable thing.”
He repeated that the episode was particularly harmful to Jews in Canada and around the world, adding that “this is a painful situation for the people of Ukraine as well.”
At the end of the week Mr. Rota said he had not told Canada or the Ukrainian government about his plan to invite Mr. Hanka.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Mr. offered no support for Rota, and called his decision “deeply embarrassing,” but he was open to Mr. Rota was not called upon to step down as Speaker.
“It is a good thing that Speaker Rota has apologized personally and he will now consider how to move forward with the dignity of the House,” said Mr. Trudeau said.
Mr. Rota Mr. While a member of parliament from Trudeau’s Liberal Party, he is not a political power broker like his opponent in the US House of Representatives. Speakers in the Canadian House of Commons act as impartial arbiters in the chamber, independent of the government. The speaker, not the government, controls all activities and behavior in the chamber and its employees.
Mr. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, who leads Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the polls, blamed Mr. That didn’t stop Trudeau from blaming either.
“Trudeau (and his Liberal spokesperson) have brought shame to Canada,” said Mr. Poilivre wrote in a social media post on Tuesday. “The Liberal Speaker must resign. But that doesn’t excuse Justin Trudeau’s failure to have his massive diplomatic and intelligence apparatus on foot and prevent him from honoring a Nazi.
In the House of Commons, opposition Conservatives said the incident played into Russian propaganda. Cooperation between supporters of Ukrainian independence and Nazi forces during World War II is a key element of Moscow’s false narrative that the current government in Kyiv is infiltrated by neo-Nazis.
Mr. Before Rota made his announcement, several members of the opposition in Parliament called for an apology on behalf of Canada to Jews, Ukraine and the world in general.
The 14th Waffen SS Division was formed by volunteers from the Galicia region, which now spans southeastern Poland and parts of western Ukraine. After the Soviet occupation of western Ukraine in 1939, the creation of the unit in 1943 made Ukrainians eager to fight for their independence, said Dominique Arel, chair of Ukrainian studies at the University of Ottawa.
“Having been trained by SS officers, you can imagine the kind of political indoctrination they received,” he said. Even if their motives are independent, Mr. The Arel unit “fought and trained for the Nazis. There’s no question about that.”