Ottawa [Canada], September 26 (ANI): Following the act of honouring a former Nazi soldier in Canada's parliament, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said that the decision to invite the Ukrainian veteran was "deeply embarrassing", reported CBC News.
While speaking at a news briefing, Trudeau stopped short of calling for Parliament speaker Anthony Rota to step aside from the role he's held since 2019.
"It's extremely upsetting that this happened. The Speaker has acknowledged his mistake and has apologized. But this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada and by extension to all Canadians," Trudeau said.
He further warned that this situation may fuel Russia's propaganda as Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the Ukraine conflict is about rooting out Nazis, according to CBC News.
"I think it's going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian disinformation and continue our steadfast unequivocal support for Ukraine as we did last week by announcing further measures to stand with Ukraine in Russia's illegal war against it," Trudeau said.
On September 22, during Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's speech in Canada's Parliament, 98-year-old Ukrainian Yaroslav Hunka, who served in the first Ukrainian division, also known as the SS division "Galicia" during World War II was honoured by the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada Anthony Rota. Canada's Leader of Opposition Pierre Poilievre criticised this act and the two opposition parties said that it was not enough for Rota to apologize for inviting Hunka to the day's festivities, reported CBC News.
Currently, Rota is facing calls to resign from the New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois. Although, Rota did not offer any suggestion about his intention to resign.
Moreover, Rota is expected to hold a meeting with the government and opposition House leaders at Tuesday noon, CBC News reported.
However, the Bloc Quebecois originally requested the meeting with Rota and the other parties's House leaders, according to a letter, reported CBC News. The letter, from Bloc House leader Alain Therrien, said Hunka's invitation has created "a crisis of confidence without precedent" in the House of Commons.
NDP MP Peter Julian, the party's House leader, said "regretfully and sadly" Rota cannot continue in his role after this incident.
"The Speaker has to be above reproach," he said. "This is an unforgivable error that puts the entire House in disrepute. Unfortunately, I believe a sacred trust has been broken."Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre blames Trudeau stating that the Prime Minister's Office should have vetted a guest list drawn up by the Speaker.
"Canadians are sick and tired of a prime minister who never takes responsibility for the things that happen on his watch," Poilievre said, adding there's "constant international embarrassment" with Trudeau at the helm, reported CBC News.
While pointing to Rota, Poilievre said, "He always finds someone else to throw under the bus. Are you that person?" According to recent development, Russia will seek a clarification from Canada over the honour accorded in Canadian Parliament to a Ukrainian Nazi who served in one of the units of Adolf Hitler's Waffen SS during the Second World War, TASS reported.
"The Embassy is sending a note to the Canadian Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's office demanding clarification. The SS is recognized as a criminal organization by the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which are an integral part of international law. By honouring a member of this criminal community, the Canadian cabinet and members of parliament violated not only moral but also legal norms," Russian Ambassador to Ottawa, Oleg Stepanov said. (ANI)