In America public officials have made it a habit of not resigning after doing shady things. That’s not how they roll in Canada. In the land up north if politicians do things they shouldn’t have, there’s a good chance they’ll a) apologize and b) resign. That’s what happened when a Canadian official accidentally sang the praises of an old former Nazi.
Last week, Canadian House Speaker Anthony Rota came under fire for inviting one Yaroslav Hunka, a 92-year-old Ukrainian veteran, to attend a session of Parliament devoted to visiting Ukrainian president Volodymy Zelensky during his North American tour. Rota saluted Hunka, who he called a “hero,” and he got the entire assembly, Zelensky and president Justin Trudeau included, to bathe him in applause.
One problem, though: Hunka isn’t just any veteran. He’s a veteran of fighting for the Nazis in World War II.
Upon learning of Hunka’s past, Trudeau called the situation “deeply embarrassing.” Rota apologized amidst outrage from the Jewish community. By Monday he’d gone a big step forward: He announced he was resigning from his post.
It has been 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. I’ve acted as your humble servant of this House, carrying out the important responsibilities of this position to the very best of my abilities.
The work of this House is above any of us. Therefore, I must step down as your speaker.
I reiterate my profound regret for my error in recognizing an individual in the House during the joint address to Parliament of President Zelensky. That public recognition has caused pain to individuals and communities, including the Jewish community in Canada and around the world, in addition to survivors of Nazi atrocities in Poland, among other nations.
I accept full responsibility for my actions. My resignation is effective at the end of the sitting day tomorrow, Wednesday, September 27th, to allow preparations for the election of a new speaker. Until that time, the deputy speakers will chair the House proceedings. Thank you. Merci.
Meanwhile in the good ol’ U.S. of A., the frontrunner for the GOP presidential ticket in 2024 was found guilty of fraud, on top of the 91 criminal charges he faces. The chances of him pulling out of the race are approximately zero.