Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday his administration is considering declassifying a list of suspected former Nazi collaborators who immigrated to Canada following the Second World War.
His comments follow a diplomatic blunder that saw the Canadian parliament during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit to Ottawa publicly celebrate a Ukrainian veteran, Yaroslav Hunka, who had fought for the Nazis during the war.
In 1986, an independent inquiry had looked into allegations that more than 800 Nazi war criminals slipped into the country, but their names were withheld.
“We have made sure that there are top public servants who are looking very carefully into the issue, including digging into the archives,” Trudeau said Wednesday.
“They’re going to make recommendations to the relevant ministers,” he added.
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Jewish groups, including B’nai Brith and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, have pressed for the release of the report.
Jagmeet Singh, the leader of a small faction in parliament that has propped up Trudeau’s minority Liberal government, said he supports unsealing the records.
Nazi veteran Yaroslav Hunka acknowledges a standing ovation in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons apologized Sunday, Sept. 24, for recognizing Hunka, who fought in a Nazi military unit during World War II. (Screenshot CBC; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Others, however, have raised issues related to Canada’s strict privacy laws, and warned of reopening old wounds.
This followed Zelensky’s visit in September when House speaker Anthony Rota hailed an elderly Ukrainian immigrant from his district as a hero, prompting a standing ovation.
Rota resigned after it was revealed that the veteran had served in a Nazi-linked military unit.