Parliament has dropped further public discussion into ‘Nazigate’ after the House affairs committee decided to “cover up” the ‘hero’s welcome’ of a Waffen SS member.
“What we have is the cover-up coalition at work yet again,” said Conservative MP Michael Cooper on October 19. He lambasted the House Affairs Committee for going “behind closed doors” rather than dealing with this scandal “openly and transparently.”
“Okay, okay, okay,” interjected Liberal MP Bardish Chagger, chair of the committee. “I think you can hear me, Mr. Cooper.”
According to Blacklock's Reporter, Cooper tabled a motion for the committee to investigate the September 22 incident. Most MPs voted not to discuss the issue in public, then concluded the meeting without comment.
“The only reason it has been necessary to bring this motion at this time is because of every effort made by Liberals and New Democrats to have an in-camera meeting to deal with the issue of the former SS soldier introduced before the House of Commons,” said Cooper.
Then-Speaker Anthony Rota presented Yaroslav Hunka, 98, as a national hero. Rota resigned on September 26 under threat of censure by Parliament.
“We have here in the chamber today a Ukrainian-Canadian war veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians,” Rota said at the time. “He is a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero and we thank him for all his service. Thank you.”
At the time, some MPs questioned how “someone who fought against Russia during the Second World War” did not pass the smell test for Rota.
In a 2011 commentary for Combatant News, Hunka became an enemy prisoner of war in 1945 after voluntarily serving with the 14 Waffen SS Grenadier Division. He would later enjoy “a profitable and affluent life in Canada.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed Rota entirely for the embarrassment during an exchange with reporters.
“The Speaker was solely responsible for the invitation and recognition of this man and has wholly accepted that responsibility and stepped down,” he said, calling it a “mistake that has deeply embarrassed Parliament and Canada.”