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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Apologizes for Praising Nazi Veteran in Parliament

Controversy Surrounds Canada: Relations Strained with India and Russia Amid Nazi Veteran Praise Apology

September 28, 2023: In a bid to address a growing international controversy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a formal apology on Wednesday during a session of the House of Commons. The apology came in the wake of his recent praise of Yaroslav Hunka, a Nazi veteran, during a parliamentary event attended by Ukrainian President Zelensky. This incident has not only strained relations with India but also drawn criticism from Russia.

The controversy unfolded when Anthony Rota, the former Speaker of the House, publicly declared Yaroslav Hunka a hero during a parliamentary session last Friday. However, following mounting backlash and outrage, Rota resigned from his position on Tuesday, taking full responsibility for his actions.

Yaroslav Hunka, a Polish-born Ukrainian, had a controversial past, having served in one of Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS units during World War II before later relocating to Canada. Trudeau’s praise of Hunka was met with widespread condemnation, particularly from Russia, which used the incident to support its claim that the war in Ukraine is aimed at disintegrating the country. In contrast, Kiev and its Western allies dismissed these allegations as baseless.

During his formal apology in the House of Commons, Trudeau expressed deep regret for the incident, stating, “On behalf of all of us in this House, I want to express my regret. It was a terrible mistake for all of us present there to inadvertently identify this individual. It was an insult to those people who suffered gravely at the hands of the Nazi regime.” Trudeau’s apology sought to mitigate the damage done to Canada’s reputation and mend relations with both India and Russia.

Notably, Yaroslav Hunka resides in the parliamentary constituency of Anthony Rota, adding another layer of complexity to the controversy. While Trudeau’s Liberal government argued that it bore no responsibility for Speaker Rota’s invitation, the opposition held Trudeau ultimately accountable for the incident, as he had invited President Zelensky to address the Canadian Parliament.

The incident has left Canada at odds with multiple countries, emphasizing the need for diplomatic efforts to mend strained relations and maintain its standing on the global stage.

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