Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a confusing apology on behalf of Canada after a Ukrainian veteran who fought under Hitler’s regime was invited to the House of Commons and recognized as a “war hero.”
“I also want to reiterate how deeply sorry Canada is for the situation this put President Zelensky and the Ukrainian delegation in,” Trudeau said Wednesday in Question Period.
Trudeau would not offer a personal apology, continuing to say it was the Speaker of the House’s responsibility – and not his government’s.
“The speaker was solely responsible for the invitation and recognition of this man and has wholly accepted that responsibility and stepped down,” said Trudeau, referring to Anthony Rota’s resignation.
“This was a mistake that has deeply embarrassed Parliament and Canada. All of us who were in this house on Friday regret deeply having stood and clapped even though we did so unaware of the context,” said Trudeau.
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has been demanding Trudeau take accountability for the scandal, which has since made headlines around the world.
“The prime minister is now responsible for the biggest single diplomatic embarrassment in Canadian history and what has he done with that responsibility? He’s been hiding out in his cottage,” Poilievre said. “For three days, he hid there instead of coming to the House of Commons and taking responsibility.
On Friday, Yaroslav Hunka, who served with the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS was invited to attend Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zeleneky’s speech in the House of Commons where he received accolades and a standing ovation.
In his remarks, Trudeau also blamed Russia for “politicizing” the event.
“Friday’s joint session was about what Canada stands for, about our steadfast support of Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutality, lies and violence,” said Trudeau. “It is extremely troubling to think that this egregious error is being politicized by Russia and its supporters to provide false propaganda about what Ukraine is fighting for.”