Conservative MPs on the House of Commons’ procedure committee blasted Liberal and NDP colleagues for voting to make an inquiry into the invitation of a Nazi soldier to the House of Commons last month private and unavailable to the general public.
A motion before the committee called for a transparent and public inquiry into how former Ukrainian 14th SS Division Galicia member Yaroslav Hunka was given a place of honour in Parliament during Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s visit to Canada.
The Conservative motion was voted down with four MPs supporting a public inquiry and seven MPs voting against.
Conservative MP Michael Cooper accused opponents of engaging in a coverup and keeping the truth from Canadians to protect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reputation.
“What we have is a coverup coalition at work yet again seeking to go behind closed doors rather than to deal with this matter openly and transparently to get to the bottom of one of the greatest international embarrassments brought upon by this prime minister with an S.S. soldier addressing parliament and it’s disgraceful,” said Cooper.
At the time, former speaker Anthony Rota invited Hunka to stand before the House of Commons. MPs then gave him a standing ovation.
“We have here in the Chamber today, a Ukrainian Canadian veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today even at the age of 98. His name Yaroslav Hunka,” said Rota.
“I am very proud to say that he is from North Bay and from my riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming. He is a Ukrainian hero, Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service.”
Rota has since resigned from his position as the Speaker of the House and was replaced by Liberal MP Greg Fergus.
Jewish groups widely condemned the incident, calling it a disgrace to the memory of those who suffered in the Holocaust.
“We are deeply troubled & disturbed that a Ukrainian veteran of the infamous 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS – which actively participated in the genocide of Jews – was celebrated with a standing ovation in the Canadian Parliament,” wrote CIJA at the time.
“Canada’s Jewish community stands firmly with Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression. But we can’t stay silent when crimes committed by Ukrainians during the Holocaust are whitewashed.”