Trudeau apologizes for tribute to vet who fought in WWII Nazi unit

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is offering “Parliament’s unreserved apologies” to the world, several days following scandalous revelations that lawmakers mistakenly praised a man who fought in a Nazi division in WWII.

“This is a mistake that deeply embarrassed Parliament and Canada,” Trudeau said Wednesday in a televised address ahead of his apology in the House of Commons.

He acknowledged the incident during President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Ottawa visit struck a blow to Ukraine’s public relations efforts as it tries to rally support for its fight against Russia as Moscow uses the debacle to its advantage.

“All of us who were in this House on Friday regret deeply having stood and clapped, even though we did so unaware of the context,” he said.

“It was a horrendous violation of the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust and it was deeply, deeply painful for Jewish people. It also hurt Polish people, Roma people, to LGBTQI+ people, disabled people, racialized people and the many millions who were targeted by the Nazi genocide.”

Trudeau did not take questions from reporters and pointed blame at the House of Commons speaker.

This follows the delayed resignation on Wednesday of the speaker, Anthony Rota, who has assumed responsibility for inviting Yaroslav Hunka, 98, to Parliament and publicly praising him as a Ukrainian and Canadian “hero,” netting Hunka a standing ovation from Canadian politicians and Zelenskyy.

Rota apologized for the incident after it came out that Hunka served in the First Ukrainian Division, also known as the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS under the Nazis.

Trudeau’s Liberals have squarely blamed Rota for causing the incident. But the opposition Conservatives blame Trudeau.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who is surging ahead of Trudeau in the polls, said it has left Canada’s image in tatters.

“This is by far the biggest hit Canada’s diplomatic reputation has ever taken in its history,” he told reporters Tuesday.

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