Status: 26/09/2023, 22:52 p.m.
By: Nail Akkoyun
The Speaker of the Canadian Parliament, Anthony Rota, draws conclusions and resigns from office. © Adrian Wyld/Imago
Anthony Rota, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, resigns after fierce criticism. His mistake: honoring a former SS soldier.
Ottawa – After fierce criticism of his tribute to a former Waffen-SS soldier, the president of Canada's lower house of parliament has resigned. "The work of Parliament is more important than any of us. That's why I have to resign as Speaker of Parliament," Anthony Rota told the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday (26 September). "I deeply regret my mistake," he said.
Previously, numerous deputies and members of the government had already called for Rota's resignation. "What has happened is unacceptable. It was embarrassing for the House of Commons and the Canadians," said Foreign Minister Melanie Joly.
Tribute to Nazi war criminals: 98-year-old served in the Waffen-SS
Rota had honored an SS veteran last Friday during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to parliament. He called 98-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Yaroslav Hunka a "Ukrainian-Canadian war veteran" who fought for Ukraine's independence against Russia. According to the organization Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), however, he concealed the fact that Hunka served in a unit of the Waffen-SS during the Second World War. Hunka was present in the chamber and received thunderous applause, according to the statement.
According to the FSCW, Hunka served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the Waffen-SS Division Galicia. The SS, which was classified as a criminal organization at the Nuremberg Trials after the end of the war, had national units involved in war crimes in many occupied countries. (nak/dpa)