I “regret my decision to [honour Hunka]” — House Speaker Apologizes to Jewish Community

Anthony Rota, House of Commons Speaker has apologized and takes full responsibility for honouring a man who fought in a Nazi unit during the Second World War.

What happened? 

On Friday, during Zelenskyy’s visit to the House of Commons, the House Speaker invited and offered a standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka who fought in the Second World War with the First Ukrainian Division under a formation that was commanded by the Nazis.

The House Speaker described the 98-year-old Hunka as a “Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service.”

Zelenskyy was impressed and cheered up Hunda. MPs and everyone in attendance acknowledged the honour with a standing ovation.

What follows?

On Sunday, several Jewish groups condemned the House Speaker’s action and asked him to apologize.

The same day, the House Speaker issued the following statement: 

“I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to [honour Hunka]. 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.”

In particular, the House Speaker expresses “deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world.”

He took full responsibility for the action because it was his sole decision without the consent of other MPs or the PM. 


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