"Obviously, it's extremely upsetting that this happened," Trudeau said when he was cornered by reporters despite having avoided Question Period in Parliament. "The speaker has acknowledged his mistake, and has apologized, but this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada and by extension to all Canadians. I think particularly of Jewish MPs and all members of the Jewish community across the country are celebrating Yom commemorating Yom Kippur today."
"I think it's going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda," Trudeau said, pivoting to a total non sequitur, "Russian disinformation and continue our steadfast and unequivocal support for Ukraine, as we did last week, with announcing further measures to stand with Ukraine in Russia's illegal war against it."
It is unclear if Trudeau thought that the presence of a Nazi in the House of Parliament was a result of Russian disinformation as opposed to his having been directly invited.
Russia was allied with Canada during World War II, the war in which 98-year-old veteran Yaroslav Hunka fought with the Nazi Waffen SS. Hunka fought against Russia, Canada, the United States, and the other Allied nations. He was a guest of Parliament and of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy.
Parliament gave Hunka two standing ovations, and it was later realized that Hunka had been an enemy of Canada. Zelensky, Trudeau, and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland all put their hands together for Hunka, who was very emotional at being honored.
House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota apologized for his role in bringing Hunka to the chamber, saying "On September 22, in the House of Commons, I recognized an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so."
"I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them," he added. "This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention."
"I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my actions," Rota concluded.Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre demanded that Trudeau apologize personally. Poilievre said Hunka's honoring was "an appalling error in judgment on the part of Justin Trudeau, whose personal protocol office is responsible for arranging and vetting all guests and programming for state visits of this kind."
"No parliamentarians (other than Justin Trudeau)," Poilievre continued, "had the opportunity to vet this individual’s past before he was introduced and honoured on the floor of the House of Commons. Without warning or context, it was impossible for any parliamentarian in the room (other than Mr. Trudeau) to know of this dark past. Mr. Trudeau must personally apologize and avoid passing the blame to others as he always does."
Instead, Trudeau blamed the Russians.
"Hunka was a soldier with the 14th 'Galicia' division of the Waffen-SS," David Krayden writes, "the military section of the Nazi SS, which was responsible for elements of terror from massive extermination camps to the daily torture and repression of citizens within occupied Europe. The International Military Tribunal that oversaw the Nuremberg war crimes trials declared the SS to be a criminal organization."
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