In a stunning turn of events Speaker of Canada's House of Commons Anthony Rota announced his resignation following a public outcry over his praise of a former Nazi soldier during a parliamentary session.
The controversy has sent shockwaves through the Canadian political landscape and has drawn condemnation from various quarters.
This began when Speaker Rota extended an invitation to 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka to a special parliamentary session, where he recognised Hunka as a "Ukrainian hero."
However, it was soon revealed that Hunka had a dark past, having served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi's SS military unit during World War II, a fact confirmed by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish community group.
The revelation of Hunka's Nazi affiliations led to outrage and calls for Speaker Rota's resignation. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly condemned the incident, describing it as "completely unacceptable" and an "embarrassment to the House and to Canadians." Joly went on to say that Rota should heed the demands of fellow parliamentarians and step down from his position.
Speaker Rota offered a public apology for his actions earlier in the week, acknowledging the gravity of the situation.
In Parliament on Monday, he stated, "What happened on Friday is completely unacceptable," and added, "This initiative was entirely my own." Rota also emphasized that no one, including fellow parliamentarians or the Ukraine delegation, had prior knowledge of his remarks regarding Hunka.
The controversy took an unexpected turn when it was revealed that Hunka had received standing ovations from notable figures in attendance, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Both leaders applauded Hunka during the parliamentary session, unaware of his Nazi past.