Canadian House Speaker Resigns After Honoring Nazi
Photo by JUSTIN TANG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by JUSTIN TANG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Canadian House Speaker Anthony Rota resigned Tuesday amid a firestorm over a Nazi veteran guest who was honored as a “hero” in parliament last week.

“It is with a heavy heart that I rise to inform members of my resignation as speaker of the House of Commons. It is my greatest honor as a parliamentarian to have been elected by you, my peers, to serve as the speaker of the House of Commons for the 43rd and 44th parliament,” Rota began his remarks.

What Rota left out was that Hunka fought on the side of the Nazis, serving in the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, a volunteer division under Nazi command. The unit is accused of killing Polish and Jewish civilians, though it has not been convicted of crimes by a war tribunal, according to BBC.

“Obviously, it’s extremely upsetting that this happened. The speaker has acknowledged his mistake and apologized, but this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the parliament of Canada and, by extension, to all Canadians,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Monday.

He appeared to blame Russian propaganda for the oversight but did not elaborate or provide specific examples of disinformation from foreign influences.

“I think it’s going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation, and continue our steadfast, unequivocal support for Ukraine,” he added.

Rota faced numerous calls to resign following the scandal, according to POLITICO. Rota acknowledged the mistake Sunday, though his apology did little to settle the storm against him. He continued overseeing proceedings in the parliament on Monday during a session largely about him and the display that took place days prior.


MPs across the Canadian political spectrum condemned the incident. Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer blamed the prime minister’s office for the fiasco, accusing it of failing to do “a straightforward Google search” on the veteran honored on Friday.

“What kind of message does that send to Canada’s partners and allies around the world?” Scheer said on the floor of the House of Commons on Monday. “There was a Nazi in the Chamber.”

Liberal House Leader Karina Gould, who is Jewish, condemned the display as “deeply embarrassing” and “hurtful.” Gould said the incident should not be politicized and put all of the blame on Rota.

Rota accepted “full responsibility” and apologized on Sunday for honoring Hunka, saying the speaker had “subsequently become aware of more information” about the honoree.

“This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding [district] and having been brought to my attention,” Rota said. “I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world.”

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