Canadian House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rutta, resigned on Tuesday after inviting a man who fought in a Nazi military unit in World War II to parliament to attend a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
After Ukraine's president delivered his speech directly in the House of Commons on Friday, Canadian lawmakers applauded Yaroslav Honka, 98, when Ruta drew attention to him.
Ruta Honka was presented as a war hero who fought in the ranks of the Ukrainian First Division.
It was later announced that the First Ukrainian Division, also known as the Waffen-SS Galicia, or SS-14 Waffen, was a volunteer unit under Nazi command.
What did the Speaker of Canada's House of Commons say in his resignation speech in Parliament?
• No one in this Council is above any of us. I must therefore step down as your President.
• I reiterate my deep regret for my mistake in praising a person in the Council during a joint speech by President Zelensky before Parliament.
This public recognition caused pain to people and communities including the Jewish community in Canada and around the world as well as Nazi survivors in Poland and other countries. I take full responsibility for my actions.
Rutte resigned after meeting party leaders in the House of Commons later on Tuesday.
Karina Gould, leader of the government bloc in the House of Commons, said she believed MPs had lost confidence in Ruta, adding that Ruta called for Honka and praised him without informing the Ukrainian government or delegation.
• Canadian Health Minister Mark Holland described the incident as "very embarrassing".
• The Association for the Defense of the Jewish Community of Canada stated that these statements "ignore Honka's service in the Waffen XIV Division of the SS, a Nazi military unit whose crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are widely documented."