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Canadian Government Apologizes for Honoring Nazi, Zelensky Stays Silent

Canadian Government Apologizes for Honoring Nazi, Zelensky Stays Silent

Over the weekend, the Canadian parliament along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received widespread condemnation for giving a standing ovation to honor a Nazi from World War 2. The incident created renewed criticism of Ukraine’s Nazi problem while putting Canada on the radar of antisemitism.

On Friday (September 22), the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons, Anthony Rota, acknowledged the presence of a Ukrainian-Canadian veteran of World War 2, the 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, in the House. The members of parliament (MPs) along with Zelensky and Trudeau cheered and gave a standing ovation to Hunka.

Condemnation of the incident followed immediately in form of comments pouring in on videos of the incident with many Canadians and some Ukrainians reminding that the Nazis slaughtered both Canadians and Ukrainians during the World War 2, thus shaming the incident.

Seeing the anger and grievance gushing toward it, the Canadian government decided to apologize for honoring Hunka. House Speaker Rota offered an apology and attempted to appease the critics by claiming that he was not fully aware of Hunka’s Nazi background.

“I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to recognize this individual. I wish to apologize to the House. I am deeply sorry that I have offended many with my gesture and remarks.”

Left-leaning media went into damage control mode as the backlash over the incident filled social media and started making headlines. The Independent wrote that the Canadian parliament “accidentally” honored the Nazi. Toronto Star published an opinion piece on Monday attempting to defend President Zelensky against the backlash, arguing that the Ukrainian President is “the man who should not pay that price.”

Canadian PM Trudeau released a video apologizing for the incident and blaming the Speaker of the House for “his mistake” while in the same sentence calling for pushing back against “Russian propaganda” and “Russian disinformation.”

Trudeau’s office denied the claims that the PM met Hunka in a private meeting.

Toronto-based journalist Sheldon Kirshner wrote in The Times of Israel on Monday that this shameful and embarrassing incident was clearly avoidable and should never have taken place. Dismissing the apology from Rota, Kirshner wondered whether Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, had a role in inviting Hunka to the parliament.

A Ukrainian Canadian, her late grandfather was a paid propagandist for Nazi Germany in Poland. Interestingly enough, she has remained deafeningly silent since Hunka’s appearance in Parliament, as have Ukrainian Canadian community organizations.

On Monday, Canada’s opposition leadership called on the House Speaker to resign in wake of his blunder which, according to Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, has resulted in his loss of confidence of the House.

The governments of Russia and Belarus have officially condemned the honoring of Hunka by the Canadian government and Zelensky. At the time of this writing, President Zelensky or his office has not offered any apology or addressed the incident in any official statement.

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1 Comment

  1. frank stetson

    You think Dempsey is American? Who uses the term “World War 2?” Once in a blue moon WW2, but World War 2?

    “The incident created renewed criticism of Ukraine’s Nazi problem while putting Canada on the radar of antisemitism.” Boy, would I like the logic behind that one. In Dempsey’s mind no doubt as he spews out the Russian spin on all of this without doing even an adequate job of journalism.

    Dempsey continues to throw the mud decrying explanations as liberal “damage control” campaign. He continues his slap-dash ready-fire-aim neophyte journalistic style refusing to do actual research and opting for cut n paste blogosphere with a dash of Dempsey right-wing biased opinion on top.

    Dempsey could have looked, he could have done the work, he could have opted for…..

    Some facts:

    Since a 1985 decision, Canadian Law allowed Ukrainians that have been part of this WWII brigade that fought for the Nazi’s to be in the country UNLESS actual brutalities to that person can be proven. Thus, folks from this brigade can legally be in Canada and MIGHT have committed atrocities if not yet proven. This man stated he joined to fight the Russians for Ukrainian independence. To date, no atrocities have been alleged or proven for this man. He has not been hiding, he has been clear about what he did for 40 years, and he’s a staunch Russian hater for decades, by actions. Not saying he’s innocent, but he certainly has been pretty open.

    He was named Honorary Citizen of the City of Berezhany by the Berezhany city council, in Ukraine. He is active in the brigades’ Canadian veterans group. He has travelled Canada protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Between his admission he fought the Russians in WWII over 60 years ago, he is protesting the invasion today, I guess they jumped to hero missing the brigades war-crime actions against Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians. He also donated a 30K endowment in 2020 to a Canadian college.

    The man’s son offered his dad, a 98-yr old, Canadian Ukrainian, legal immigrant, to come to Parliament. Speaker Rota accepted. There is no formal vetting process, they assume someone on Rota’s staff did it, but probably at the same Internet level that allows me to see a guy named Dempsey under a Pakistani name with a pedophile relative in English government but nothing more. He passed the internet sniff test.

    No one else, including Trudeau, had much to do with it. Methinks that’s a process that will be hardened.

    They gave him 2 standing ovations and then the internet poured forth about Ukrainians in the SS killing Jews and Canadians during the War. How the internet-ters put this guy in that unit I cannot find, but he was. He got to Canada because the UK asked for help in repatriating surrendering soldiers. He married in England in 1951 and immigrated in 1954. Supposedly there was a special security clearance done on him at the time. About 2,000 came over, some could be in the US by now. Apparently, these guys joined for a number of reasons including independence from the Russian occupiers, avoiding forced labor camps, as well as perhaps hating Jews or Ukrainians.

    The University of Alberta endowment has been returned.

    Not sure if further investigations into his past will be done.

    Russia is making propaganda hay about all of this. They are saying what Dempsey is and more.

    The speaker resigned and said: “This House is above any of us,” he told fellow lawmakers. “I reiterate my profound regret.”

    I am sure the vetting process will be hardened at both Parliament and the UofA.

    It was a very unfortunate and tragic episode, not the end of Canadian civilization.

    And those of us in the US should note the Canadian Speaker’s resignation when we think about Menendez, Santos, Gaetz, Brooks, Gohmert, Hawley, Biggs, Perry, and Greene. You can probably add some more liberals in Congress too. What they said and did should matter, even if legal as was the case for the Canadian Speaker. Why don’t they resign after doing and saying that shit?

    Yeah, it took some research, knowing where to look, but that’s what it takes to get a comprehensive story. On this one the jury is still out — did he or did he not participate in atrocities. At age 98, I am betting we never know. And once again, Dempsey has delivered an adequate piece of storytelling.