The entire Parliament of Canada, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, gave a standing ovation last Friday to Yaroslav Hunka, a former Ukrainian member of Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS, who played a leading role in the extermination of European Jews in the years 1941. until 1945. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj also participated in the thunderous applause as today’s guest of honor in Parliament.
This shocking public endorsement of a Nazi war criminal and participant in the greatest crimes in human history has highlighted the Canadian government’s long-standing ties to the Nazis’ Ukrainian fascist collaborators and their political descendants, as well as the broader rehabilitation of fascism, within the framework of the United States and NATO – the war against Russia in Ukraine.
Anthony Rota, Parliamentary Speaker of the House of Commons, introduced Hunka, who was seated at the podium, last Friday. Hunka has been described as a “veteran of World War II, who fought for Ukraine’s independence against the Russians, and who continues to support the troops today, even at the ripe old age of 98 years “.
Rota added that Yaroslav Hunka “is a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service.” In unison, they stood up, President Zelenskyj, Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, the leaders of the opposition parties, all the MPs and senators assembled, as well as all the senior officers of the Canadian army, to give Hunka a standing ovation. He stood up, for his part, and raised his fists in the air.
It quickly turned out that this Ukrainian and Canadian “hero” was a war criminal. Hunka “fought for Ukrainian independence” as a member of a special unit of the Nazi SS, the 14th Galicja Division of the Waffen SS. The Galicja division was composed of Ukrainians, except for the senior officers who were German, most of whom were members of one of the rival wings of the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).
Himmler created the 14th Waffen SS Galicjia Division in 1943, trained and schooled in Nazi concentration camps, and carried out massacres of Poles, Jews and Slovaks. The Nuremberg Tribunal later ruled that mere membership in the SS constituted a criminal act.
The revelation of Hunka’s role in the SS created a storm on Canadian social media. Ivan Katsjanovksi, a lecturer at the University of Ottawa and critic of Canada’s role in instigating and leading the US-NATO war against Russia over Ukraine, drew attention to Hunka’s public posts describing and proudly proclaiming his involvement in the Waffen SS.
Jewish organizations have demanded that the Canadian Parliament apologize for honoring an SS veteran. “All Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans who fought the Nazis must apologize,” Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement. “And an explanation must be given as to how this person was allowed to enter the hallowed halls of the Parliament of Canada and receive recognition from the Speaker of Parliament and a standing ovation.”
Prime Minister Trudeau, Conservative Party Leader Pierre Polièvre, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and everyone else are now trying to disavow their involvement in Friday’s event. They all claim that they played no role in Hunka’s cry of honor and that they were unaware that Hunka was a member of the Waffen SS. Karina Gould, the Liberal leader of the government in the House of Commons, said: “The Prime Minister has not met with him. …I am deeply concerned about what happened. I urge all Members not to politicize this incident.
Parliament Speaker Rota issued a perfunctory apology on Sunday in which he personally accepted all responsibility for Parliament’s recognition of Hunka. “I then received more information,” Rota said, “which makes me regret my decision [om å ære Hunka]. I would like to clarify that no one, not even any other of my parliamentary colleagues or the Ukrainian delegation, was aware of my intention or my comments before I made them.” This is despite the fact that Hunka’s past is known from the public and Hunka herself bragged about it!
It is impossible to take seriously the claims that the Speaker of Parliament was left to his own devices in writing his introduction to Zelensky’s speech to Parliament. As Trudeau himself made clear in his own remarks during Zelensky’s visit, his government is determined to support the war in Ukraine for as long as it takes to achieve victory – and in this it benefits from support of the entire Canadian ruling class. He defined this as the restoration of the borders of the pre-2014 Kiev regime, including the recapture of the Crimean peninsula, and, in more candid moments, as “regime change” in Moscow.
There is every reason to believe that high-ranking government figures and their allies in the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) wanted to use Zelensky’s visit to advance their long-standing efforts to promote and publicly honor the far-right Ukrainian nationalists who collaborated. with the Nazis. They undoubtedly expected to find allies in the person of Zelenskyj and his entourage. After all, the Ukrainian regime openly celebrates Stepan Bandera, his OUN (B) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA), who, in their efforts for an ethnically “pure” Ukraine, participated in both the Holocaust and Hitler’s “war of extermination” against the Soviet Union (USSR). And the regime integrated the Azov Battalion and other fascist groups that honor Bandera and his UAI into the Ukrainian army and the country’s security services.
According to credible reports, Trudeau and Zelenskyj were planning to meet with Hunka. The SS veteran actually had a meeting with Gould, the leader of the ruling party group in the House of Commons.
Many notable people were present at the event, from Ukrainian President Zelenskyj to Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, who would have immediately known from Rota’s description that Hunka was a fascist and either a member of the Waffen SS, or from the OUN (B) of Bandera and their UIA.
As World Socialist Website abundantly documented, the Canadian state has maintained links with the Ukrainian extreme right for three-quarters of a century. After World War II, Canada provided sanctuary to tens of thousands of Nazi collaborators from both factions of the OUN, helped them whitewash their crimes, and used them as tools for its Cold War policies, particularly against left-wing influence in the vast Canadian country. Ukrainian immigrant community. Ottawa also gave approx. 2,000 former members of the Galicija division, including Hunka, open the door to Canada.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) has for years served as a link between a network of Ukrainian cultural organizations and academic programs designed to promote far-right, virulently anti-communist and anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalism. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union by the Stalinist bureaucracy, the UCC played an important role, with the support of the Canadian government, in the reintroduction of far-right nationalism in Ukraine and came to play an increasingly most important and provocative in Canadian foreign policy.
The UCC has a long history of defending and advocating for Waffen SS veterans. Hunka himself is active in the UCC and an endowment fund has been established in his name and that of his late wife at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta.
The alliance between Canadian imperialism and the Ukrainian far right is embodied by Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the current government, who was enrolled in UCC youth groups from an early age . His maternal grandfather, Mikhalio Tsjomiak, was editor-in-chief of Krakowski Visti, the only Ukrainian newspaper allowed to publish during the Nazi occupation. He issued a constant stream of anti-Semitic incitements and campaigned for the creation of a Ukrainian-led SS division.
Freeland, the Canadian government’s most ardent war hawk, has often spoken passionately about how his grandfather taught him Ukrainian culture and nationalism. When reports of her grandfather’s role as a Nazi collaborator first emerged, the political establishment and mainstream media joined in denouncing the entire affair as “misinformation.” Russian.
The Canadian elite, like its NATO allies, is attempting to hide the predatory strategic interests fueling the escalating war against Russia by claiming to defend Ukrainian “democracy” and “sovereignty.” But the ultra-reactionary forces it relies on to wage this war ideologically and militarily – as highlighted by Friday’s standing ovation for a Nazi SS killer and esteemed pro-Banderist UCC member – illustrate the true character of the elite.
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