Zelensky’s Address to the Canadian Parliament
During Ukrainian President Zelensky’s address to the Canadian Parliament on September 22, 2023, Speaker of the House, Anthony Rota, recognized Yaroslav Hunga, a 98-year-old Ukrainian World War II veteran. Zelensky and the Parliamentarians present rose to give Hunga not one, but two standing ovations. What followed next would become the Trudeau government’s biggest misstep of its eight years in power. Hunga turns out isn’t a Ukrainian hero from World War II. Rather, Hunga is a Nazi who served with the SS Waffen – a Nazi troop that committed some of the worst atrocities of World War II.
Anthony Rota – Speaker of the House
Like everyone else in the House of Commons, it is doubtful that Zelensky would have known who he was applauding. Zelensky accepted Rota’s statement that Hunga was a “Ukrainian hero and a Canadian hero.” Rota praised Hunga as a man who fought against the Russians during the Second World War. Sadly, Rota didn’t remember his Grade 9 history lessons. That anyone in uniform who was fighting against the Russians during World War II was likely to be a Nazi.
Since Hunga has been outed as a Nazi living in Canada, Poland has been seeking his extradition to be tried for war crimes. Concurrent to the international fallout, Canada’s Conservative Parliamentarians have been demanding an apology from Prime Minister Trudeau for not having vetted the guest list for the historic Zelensky address properly.
Not surprisingly Anthony Rota has been forced to resign as Speaker of the House. Perhaps worst of all is that Rota’s lack of judgment plays directly into the narrative of Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ukraine is dominated by Nazis. Putin’s claims fall within a broader narrative that he utilizes to justify Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. Putin’s narrative is part of a larger strategy of disinformation and propaganda aimed at shaping public opinion both domestically and internationally. Hence, Trudeau’s embarrassing blunder is being covered by media across the globe.
World War II saw the rise of the SS Waffen, a Nazi troop that fought against Russia. The SS Waffen was created from the ranks of the infamous SS (Schutzstaffel) organization. The SS Waffen divisions were combat units that fought on different fronts during World War II. One of these units, known as the SS Waffen, played a significant role in the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union.
Military Actions on the Eastern Front
The SS Waffen divisions engaged in fierce battles against Soviet troops on the Eastern Front and were involved in key battles, including the siege of Leningrad, the Battle of Moscow, and the ill-fated attempt to capture Stalingrad. The SS Waffen troop was heavily influenced by Nazi ideology. Its involvement in war crimes and atrocities is its lasting legacy.
War Crimes and Atrocities
Reports from innumerable sources indicate that the SS Waffen’s involvement in massacres, executions, and acts of brutality against civilians and prisoners of war were among the worst committed during World War II. The SS Waffen is associated with the Holocaust, where certain units played a direct role in the massacres and genocides of European Jews.
Lessons of History
The SS Waffen were guilty of grave human rights violations. The suffering inflicted upon millions of people due to Nazi aggression and ideology can never be forgotten. Acknowledging the truth about the actions of the SS Waffen is an important step in honoring the memory of the victims.
The SS Waffen’s role in battling against Russia during World War II is troubling. It’s important to acknowledge the dark side of history so we can better understand the price of hatred, the importance of human rights, and the need for vigilance in protecting ourselves against extremist ideologies.
While Conservatives here in Canada wait for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to apologize to Canadians for not vetting the guest list for the Zelensky address, Putin is benefitting from being able to spread disinformation and propaganda about Ukraine aimed at shaping public opinion in his favour about his illegal war against Ukraine.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA