Canada is again in hot water after a Waffen SS member received accolades from Rideau Hall several decades ago.
Governor General Mary May Simon apologized profusely for granting Peter Savaryn the Order of Canada in 1987.
Despite serving the same Nazi unit as Yaroslav Hunka — who received praise for fighting the Russians in WWII — Rideau Hall released a statement that it regretted handing Savaryn the award.
“It is with deep regret that we acknowledge that Mr. Peter Savaryn was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1987, and we express our sincere apology to Canadians for any distress or pain his appointment may have caused,” reads the statement.
The ex-Nazi served as Chancellor of the University of Alberta and President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta in the 1980s.
Despite dying in 2017, Savaryn had his award automatically rescinded owing to lasting affiliations with a murderous regime.
Rideau Hall is also considering whether it can rescind the Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals awarded to Savaryn before his passing.
Dan Panneton, director of community engagement with the Friends Of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, told the National Post that Simon’s apology must also include the formal removal of Savaryn’s honour, even if that requires a new process.
“If, subsequently, evidence comes to light of something as grievous as collaborating with a Nazi regime, that there should be some mechanism where it’s made clear that this individual is rejected by the institution,” he said.
Rideau Hall said they are prepared to terminate the honour when a person’s past only comes to light after they are honoured.
“The Chancellery is committed to working with Canadians to ensure our honours system is reflective of Canadian values,” they said.
“Historical appointments to the Order of Canada reflect a specific moment in time and would have been based on limited information sources available at that time.”
The House of Commons tribute to Hunka on September 22 instigated international and domestic condemnation for Canada’s past complacency of former Nazis immigrating to the country as “refugees.”
Last week, then-Speaker Anthony Rota resigned after honouring Hunka during Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s first visit to Canada since the Russian invasion.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his caucus have since issued half-hearted apologies for the incident.
“Mr. Hunka’s past involvement with the Waffen-SS and his recognition in the House of Commons have been a source of great concern to the Governor General,” reads the statement from Rideau Hall.