Trudeau addresses media, won't take personal accountability for Nazi invite

The prime minister briefly spoke to reporters before heading to question period in the House of Commons.

Trudeau addresses media, won't take personal accountability for Nazi invite
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will apologize on behalf of all Canadians after a Ukrainian Nazi SS veteran was honoured in the House of Commons last week, as he briefly spoke to reporters before attending question period on Wednesday.

Trudeau said he "would offer Parliament's unreserved apologies for what happened on Friday." The prime minister, however, continues to avoid taking personal accountability the incident.

"[Speaker of the House Anthony Rota] was solely responsible for the invitation and recognition of this man, and has wholly accepted that responsibility and stepped down," Trudeau said. "This was a mistake that deeply embarrassed Parliament and Canada."

Each of Canada's 338 members of Parliament showered Yaroslav Hunka, 98, with applause after Speaker Rota described him as a Ukrainian-Canadian who fought against the Russians in the Second World War as part of the volunteer Waffen-SS Galicia division. 

"It was a horrendous violation of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust," the PM continued. "Every year there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors to share firsthand their experience. It is therefore incumbent upon us all to ensure that no one ever forgets what happened."

Earlier, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre had called on the Liberal leader to issue a personal apology.

"He was responsible for making [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Canada] a success. He is responsible for the officials at Global Affairs, the intelligence services, the prime minister's protocol office," Poilievre said. "All of them could have, and should have, asked for a complete vetted list of everyone who would be in the room and in the proximity of a war-time leader."

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