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Canada’s House speaker steps down after honoring Nazi veteran


The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons announced on Tuesday that he would step down from that role, after publicly honoring a Nazi veteran in Parliament.

At a session of Parliament attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the speaker, Anthony Rota, introduced 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka of Ontario to fellow lawmakers. He described Hunka as a war hero “who fought [for] Ukrainian independence against the Russians, and continues to support the troops today.”

But Jewish groups quickly called out Rota’s recognition, pointing out that Hunka served as a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division, a Waffen-SS unit. The Waffen-SS was a Nazi Party paramilitary force formed by key Holocaust organizer Heinrich Himmler.

Rota had been dogged by calls for his resignation since that Parliamentary session on Friday.

Antisemitism charges swirl after Putin denigrates Zelensky’s Jewish roots

Zelensky is Jewish, and has relatives who were killed by the Nazis.

After apologizing on Sunday, Rota announced his resignation as the speaker of the House of Commons in Parliament on Tuesday. He said he “accept[s] full responsibility” for his actions, which he acknowledged caused pain to the Jewish community and survivors of Nazi atrocities, among other groups.

“I reiterate my profound regret for my error in recognizing an individual in the House during the joint address to Parliament of President Zelensky,” he said.

Rota’s resignation will be effective by the end of the day Wednesday to allow for the election of a new speaker.

This is a developing story and it will be updated.



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