05 December 2023,   08:57
Canada parliament speaker resigns after calling Ukrainian Nazi veteran a “hero”

The speaker of Canada’s parliament has resigned after inviting a Ukrainian Nazi veteran to attend a special session of parliament, and then calling the man a “hero” amid two standing ovations, writes The Guardian.

Anthony Rota stepped down as speaker on Tuesday after meeting with party leaders in Ottawa amid growing cross-party calls for his resignation.

“This house is above any of us”, - he told lawmakers.

Earlier in the day, Canada’s foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, called the situation “deeply unacceptable” and an “embarrassment”. The government house leader said Rota should do the “honourable thing” and step down. The Conservative leader, Pierre Poilievre, also criticized Justin Trudeau for the fiasco, saying the prime minister had “brought shame on Canada” after the government’s failure to have its “massive diplomatic and intelligence apparatus vet and prevent honouring a Nazi”.

The scandal began on Friday, when lawmakers in Canada’s parliament welcomed the Ukrainian president. Following a speech by Volodymyr Zelensky, Rota singled out 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, whom he had invited to sit in the gallery, describing the man as a “Canadian hero”.