Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Feb. 6 that, indeed, he had invited Yaroslav Hunka, a veteran of Nazi Germany’s Ukrainian 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS—a unit that famously carried out ethnic cleansing of Jews and Poles—to last year’s Toronto reception for Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy. At the time, it was well known that Hunka was celebrated in the Parliament with a prolonged standing ovation. Trudeau’s spokesman Mohammad Hussain explained that Hunka, though invited, never made it to Trudeau’s reception. While Trudeau apologized last September for the “terrible mistake” of having “unknowingly” acknowledged Hunka in the Parliament, he never divulged that he had invited Hunka, separately, to the reception. At the time he had House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota fall on his sword, taking sole responsibility, and Trudeau left it at that.
The head of Canada’s Conservative Party, Pierre Poilievre, questioned Trudeau in the Feb. 6 House of Commons question period, explaining that Trudeau had said at the time that the former Speaker of Parliament Anthony Rota “had to resign over doing the exact same thing” as what Trudeau is now shown to have done. “So will he hold himself to the very same standard and admit that he’s not fit for office?” Trudeau’s response to Poilievre was to ignore the question and attack the Conservative Party for “abandoning Ukraine,” and not standing with Ukrainian Canadians.
Poilievre’s office released a statement, saying that the prime minister “has been caught lying. Instead of admitting that he and his office personally invited a Nazi to an official prime ministerial reception with the Ukrainian President, he has lied for months to the Canadian people and has blamed everyone but himself.”
Trudeau’s office also issued a statement, reiterating the Prime Minister “had no knowledge” of Hunka’s Nazi background. Apparently, it is preferable to admit to having invited someone with no background check to meet a foreign head of state, than it is to admit that his guest, Zelenskyy, is comfortable, both here and in Ukraine, to meet with and work with promoters of World War II Nazi collaborators.