The speaker of the Canada’s House of Commons lower chamber said on Tuesday that he will quit, a few days after he publicly praised a former Nazi soldier in Parliament in an incident, which as per Russia justifies their war with Ukraine.
Anthony Rota told legislators that he made a mistake by inviting former Nazi soldier Yaroslav Hunka, 98, to attend a session in the House honouring Ukrainian President Volodymer Zelensky last Friday. Rota publicly recognised Hunka and also called him a hero.
The speaker’s position in the parliament became undefensable when the former soldier, who received two standing ovations from the lawmakers, was recognised to have been served in one of Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS units during World War II. Russia labelled the incident as outrageous.
“That public recognition has caused pain to individuals and communities, including the Jewish community in Canada and around the world… I accept the full responsibility for my actions,” stated Rota while announcing his resignation, which will come into effect from Wednesday. Until then a deputy speaker will be in charge.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Melaine Joly said Rota should resign, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on him to ponder his future.