On September 26 (local time), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed ‘Russian propaganda’ after Canada’s parliament faced global shame for celebrating Nazis. He was asked about his reaction to the fact that a Nazi soldier, identified as Yaroslav Hunka, was introduced as a war hero by the speaker of the house. He called it deeply embarrassing and somehow managed to blame Russia for the goof-up his government did by celebrating the Nazis.
“This is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada, and by extension, to all Canadians,” said PM Trudeau as he commented on the honouring in the House of Commons, during President Zelenskyy’s visit, of a Ukrainian who fought in a WWII Nazi unit.#cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/932wLn8i6P
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) September 25, 2023
He said, “Obviously, it is extremely upsetting that this happened. The speaker has acknowledged his mistake and has apologised. But this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada and, by extension, to all Canadians. I think particularly the Jewish MPs and all members of the Jewish community across the country commemorating Yom Kippur today. I think it’s gonna be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda and disinformation and continue our steadfast and unequivocal support for Ukraine as we did last week by announcing further measures to stand with Ukraine in Russia’s illegal war against it.”
Interestingly, the Canadian Prime Minister managed to blame Russia for the embarrassing “mistake” that the Speaker of the House made, which Trudeau claimed not to know of.
Meanwhile, Russia had called out Canada over celebrating Nazis. Kremlin spokesperson Peskov called it an outrageous event. He said, “Such sloppiness of memory is outrageous. Many Western countries, including Canada, have raised a young generation that does not know who fought whom or what happened during the Second World War. And they know nothing about the threat of fascism.”
Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov stated that the embassy will seek clarification over this episode. He said, “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 honoring a member of this criminal community, the Canadian cabinet and members of parliament violated moral and legal norms.”
Canada celebrated Nazi soldier who fought for Hitler in World War II
On 22nd September, the Canadian House of Commons gave a standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka, a former Nazi soldier who had fought against Russians. The 98-year-old war veteran, however, was a member of a SS unit, the 14th SS-Volunteer Division “Galicia”, established in 1943 by the Nazis. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was also present during the occasion.
Notably, SS was the main paramilitary group under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany and was primarily responsible for tunning Holocaust operations. 14th SS-Volunteer Division Galicia was made up of volunteers, which means that Yaroslav Hunka joined the unit on his own will, and was not conscripted.