House Speaker Anthony Rota resigns after inviting Nazi to Parliament

On Tuesday morning, all House parties publicly called for Anthony Rota to vacate the Speaker's chair after inviting and recognizing an SS officer in Parliament last Friday.

House Speaker Anthony Rota resigns after inviting Nazi to Parliament
The Canadian Press / Justin Tang
Remove Ads

Speaker of the House Anthony Rota resigned Tuesday afternoon after top Liberal and Opposition MPs urged him to "do the honourable thing" following his invite of an SS officer to Parliament.

The House of Commons has been in a state of chaos since Friday, when Rota recognized former SS officer, Yaroslav Hunka, 98, as “a Canadian hero.”

Hunka is one of 2,000 members of the 14th Waffen SS Galicia Division who masqueraded as “refugees” to escape prosecution for alleged war crimes in the 1950s.

On Tuesday morning, all parties publicly called for Rota to vacate the Speaker's chair to maintain the integrity of the chamber.

He met with House leaders of all parties at noon to determine next steps, reported CTV News.

On Friday, Rota called Hunka, “a Ukrainian Canadian war veteran […] who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians,” prompting two standing ovations.

Though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not comment on whether he still had confidence in Rota, he confirmed they are poised to "have very important conversations."

Trudeau said he's sure the Speaker is "reflecting now on how to ensure the dignity of the House going forward."

"As I said yesterday, this was deeply embarrassing for the House, and for Canada. It's a good thing that Speaker Rota apologized personally." 

All House parties have condemned the mistake as “deeply embarrassing.” 

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly became the first MP in Parliament to urge Rota to resign as House Speaker. 

"What happened on Friday is completely unacceptable. It was an embarrassment to the House and to Canadians. And I think the Speaker should listen to members of the House and step down," she said.

Government House leader Karina Gould concurred with Joly Tuesday morning, adding: "I can't see […] that he will continue to have the support of Liberal members." 

"I think it's time for him to do the honourable thing," she said.

However, the Conservatives said of this international incident that besmirched Canada’s reputation, both "Trudeau [and his Liberal Speaker] have brought shame on Canada.”

“The Liberal Speaker will have to resign,” he said. “But that does not excuse Justin Trudeau’s failure to have his massive diplomatic and intelligence apparatus vet and prevent honouring a Nazi." 

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) claimed that as a guest of the Speaker, they did not receive a list of attendees.

Rota issued an apology to all MPs Monday for not knowing his constituent’s “voluntary” involvement with the 14th Waffen SS Galicia Division.

"On Friday, September 22, in my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery," said Rota.

"I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so."

"I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them," he said.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads