Tribute to a former Nazi soldier: Under pressure, the President of the Canadian Parliament resigns

He had been under pressure for several days

Tribute to a former Nazi soldier: Under pressure, the President of the Canadian Parliament resigns

He had been under pressure for several days. The Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada announced on Tuesday, September 26, his resignation following the scandal caused by the tribute paid Friday in Parliament, on the occasion of Volodymyr Zelensky's visit, to a Ukrainian veteran who fought with the Nazis during World War II.

“It is with a heavy heart that I rise to inform members of my resignation as Speaker of the House of Commons,” Anthony Rota told Parliament, speaking of “his deep regret for his mistake.” All parties were calling for his resignation – including the leaders of his clan, the Liberals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The latter spoke of an “unacceptable” and “embarrassing” tribute.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions. My resignation will take effect at the end of the sitting day tomorrow, Wednesday September 27, to allow preparations for the election of a new president,” explained Mr. Rota.

Excuses

During the Ukrainian president's visit to Ottawa on Friday, Anthony Rota applauded Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian veteran accused of having fought in the Schutzstaffel, more commonly referred to by its acronym SS. He presented this man as a “Ukrainian hero” from his electoral district.

But according to Canada's Jewish community advocacy group, Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC), Mr. Hunka served in the 14th SS Division, a Nazi military unit whose Crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are well documented.

Anthony Rota had already apologized on Sunday for this invitation, explaining that he was “the only one responsible for this initiative”. First elected in 2004 under the Liberal banner, Mr. Rota, 62, has been re-elected five times. He has been the Speaker of the House of Commons since 2019.