Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to answer questions from the Opposition Conservatives over the discovery that, contrary to his previous claims, he personally invited a Nazi veteran to a reception.
This revelation, first reported by Rebel News, contradicts Trudeau’s previous assertions of non-involvement in the September 2023 accolade extended to Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian Waffen-SS veteran.
Liberal MP and House Speaker Anthony Rota took the fall for the embarrassment last fall. Rota said he was solely responsible for accidentally inviting the 98-year-old Ukrainian Waffen-SS veteran to the House of Commons where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was present.
The situation escalated in the House of Commons on Tuesday, where Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre challenged Trudeau’s integrity. “Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister has been claiming for months that he had no involvement in or knowledge of the imitation of a former Nazi soldier to the visit of the Ukrainian president. Now we know that he personally invited that same individual,” Poilievre stated.
In predictable fashion, Trudeau refused to answer the question, and instead directed his response towards issues surrounding Ukraine.
PM invited Nazi to reception
Despite Trudeau’s distancing from the debacle, an email with the subject heading “Invitation from the Prime Minister of Canada” addressed to Hunka for a September 22, 2023, event in Toronto suggests otherwise.
The email stated: “Dear Yaroslav Hunka, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, is pleased to invite you to a special event.”
Although Hunka did not attend, Trudeau’s invitation directly contradicts his claim that he had no responsibility in the national embarrassment.
The PMO has attempted to deflect responsibility, with spokesperson Ann-Clara Vaillancourt conceding on Monday that the invitation was a mistake while simultaneously claiming that Hunka was recommended by the Canadian Ukrainian Congress.
Trudeau says “Canada is sorry”
Following the revelation that Hunka was a Nazi veteran, Trudeau said in parliament: “This was a mistake that has deeply embarrassed parliament and Canada.”
“It was a horrendous violation of the memory of the millions of people who died in the holocaust, and it was deeply, deeply painful for Jewish people,” he added.
“It also hurt Polish people, 2SLGBTQI+ people, disabled people, racialized people, and the many millions who were targeted by the Nazi genocide.”