Trudeau dodges accountability on 'VIP invite' of former Waffen SS member

Senior Liberals could not explain why a former Waffen SS member received a VIP invite from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last September. As first reported by Rebel News, the Office of Protocol at the Department of Foreign Affairs invited Yaroslav Hunka, 98, to a 'special event' in Toronto.

Trudeau dodges accountability on 'VIP invite' of former Waffen SS member
The Canadian Press / Patrick Doyle and The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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Senior Liberals could not explain to Opposition MPs Tuesday why a former Waffen SS Officer received a VIP invite from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last September.

As first reported by Rebel News, the Office of Protocol at the Department of Foreign Affairs invited Yaroslav Hunka, 98, to a 'special event' in Toronto. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Canada at the time.

Access To Information records obtained by the publication contradicted federal claims that Hunka’s earlier invite to Parliament caught them off guard.

"My understanding is an invitation based on the list submitted by an external party went out to invite 1,000 people to this event in Toronto," said Government House Leader Steven MacKinnon. "We’ll get more of the details when they’re available."

He claimed Trudeau "had no knowledge" of the invite, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

On September 22, 2023, all House parties, Senate groups and foreign dignitaries rose to applaud Yaroslav Hunka, 98, in the House of Commons for fighting the Russians in WWII.

The House Speaker recognized Hunka for his supposed service in the 'First Division' of the Ukrainian National Army before immigrating to Canada. "He's a Ukrainian hero — a Canadian hero — and we thank him for all his service," claimed Rota at the time.

But in the days that followed, Canadians learned the Ukrainian immigrant fought for a voluntary Nazi paramilitary unit, forcing Rota to issue an apology and later resign from his post. 

Hunka, a member of the 14 Waffen SS Grenadier Division, had been interned in 1945 as an enemy prisoner of war, and his group was later designated as a criminal organization by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

"My generation was united by two great forces, faith in God and love for Ukraine," he told the Ukrainian-language Combatant News in 2011.

Opposition House Leader Andrew Scheer condemned attempts to deny Hunka’s VIP treatment by the PMO. "Here is the kicker," he said. "It was the Prime Minister’s invitation."

"The government and the Prime Minister in particular were at great pains to distance themselves from any connection to this individual, claiming they had absolutely nothing to do with his invitation," continued Scheer, who noted the invite came with the subject heading, "RSVP Official Events."

Federal ministers earlier claimed to be "caught off guard" by the invite. "I think this hurt all of us in Parliament," said then-Government House Leader Karina Gould.

"This unfortunate situation has been deeply embarrassing for Canada’s Parliament," she added. "I think it has been deeply embarrassing for Canada."

The House affairs committee last November 21 agreed to still-unscheduled hearings into the incident "given the hurt and international embarrassment created." Among the witnesses to testify included representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, who organized the Toronto event, and the PMO.

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