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Trudeau Offers Apology Amid Nazi Controversy

Poland Seeks Extradition of Yaroslav Hunka

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issues an “unreserved apology” for Parliament’s recognition of a Second World War Nazi unit fighter. (Photo: Screenshot)

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered an “unreserved apology” on Wednesday for the recent parliamentary recognition of a man who fought for a Nazi unit during the Second World War. Trudeau also revealed that he reached out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the wake of the incident.

“This was a mistake that has deeply embarrassed Parliament and Canada. All of us who were in this House on Friday regret deeply having stood and clapped, even though we did so unaware of the context,” Trudeau told reporters as he prepared to address the House of Commons about the controversy, marking his first personal statement on the matter since it erupted.

Trudeau characterized the incident as a “horrendous violation” of the memory of the millions who died in the Holocaust, emphasizing its deep and painful impact on Jewish people. He further noted that it also inflicted pain on Polish people, Roma people, 2SLGTBQI+ people, disabled people, and racialized individuals, along with the countless millions targeted by the Nazi genocide.

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As the Canadian Prime Minister entered the chamber, he faced a barrage of pointed questions concerning the situation. He expressed concern about the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors who can personally share their experiences and stressed the collective responsibility to ensure that the world never forgets what transpired.

The controversy unfolded after Anthony Rota, the former House Speaker, invited 98-year-old Ukrainian veteran Yaroslav Hunka, who had fought in a volunteer unit under Nazi command, to Parliament. The recognition occurred during Zelenskyy’s address last Friday, resulting in international embarrassment for the Canadian government.

While Trudeau emphasized that the Speaker was “solely responsible” for Hunka’s recognition, he conveyed Canada’s deep regret for the predicament it had placed Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian delegation in. Trudeau voiced his concern over the use of this egregious error as propaganda by Russia and its supporters to amplify false narratives about Ukraine’s struggle.

Friday’s joint session had been intended to underscore Canada’s resolute support for Ukraine’s battle against Putin’s brutality, lies, and violence. It was a moment to celebrate and acknowledge the sacrifices of Ukrainians in their fight for democracy, freedom, language, culture, and peace. Trudeau reiterated that Canada was on the side of democracy during World War II and remains on that side today.

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Following Speaker Rota’s resignation, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for a personal apology from Trudeau in response to requests from Jewish advocacy groups. They contended that an individual apology was necessary, as many Canadians felt shame over the mistake.

When questioned about whether a national apology was warranted, Liberal MPs provided indirect responses. Immigration Minister Marc Miller alluded to Canada’s “really dark history” and the presence of Nazi war criminals, stressing the need for reckoning. Health Minister Mark Holland implored a de-politicization of the incident, emphasizing the gravity of the “massive mistake” it represented.

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) called for the Procedure and House Affairs Committee to initiate public hearings to investigate vetting failures and preventive measures to avert similar incidents in the future—a proposal supported by one of the candidates vying to become Canada’s new Speaker.

Conservative MP and Deputy Speaker Chris d’Entremont expressed his intention to run for Speaker and advocated for more decorum in the House, fostering greater respect for one another. He emphasized the need for a comprehensive review to prevent such occurrences.

In related developments, a Polish official is reportedly seeking the extradition of Yaroslav Hunka, whose involvement with the Waffen-SS Galicia Division has drawn international attention and condemnation.

Speaker Anthony Rota’s resignation serves as a stark reminder of the sensitivities surrounding World War II and Holocaust-related issues, underlining the importance of careful consideration and historical accuracy in public acknowledgments and recognitions.

Ron East is an educator, community leader and public speaker. He’s spent a decade teaching in the Jewish and public school systems and spent a significant amount of time in various leadership roles in the not-for-profit sector including Executive Director of Football Manitoba and the Manitoba chapter of CFHU. Ron has published numerous newsletters, award winning magazines and online publications and is currently the Publishing Director of TheJ.Ca.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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