On September 26, the Canadian government honored a 98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian named Yaroslav Hunka. Speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota, introduced him to parliament as both a "Ukrainian hero," and a "Canadian hero" who fought against "the Russians" (it was actually the Soviet Union) during World War II. "Hero" was an odd choice of words, given the fact that Canada was aligned with the Allies in that war, and the Allies were aligned with the Soviet Union, meaning that Hunka had fought against the Canadian side. "Canadian hero"?
The Speaker was having a bad day, but this was just the beginning of the sudden end of his political career. One would think that his strange words would've tipped off the MPs that something was amiss, but that's not the way it happened.
What the hapless Liberal Party leader failed to mention was the fact that Hunka fought against "the Russians" as a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of Nazi Germany's Waffen-SS during WWII, a unit that took part in several notorious massacres of Polish civilians. Connect the dots and what you get is a powerful (and clueless) Canadian politician praising someone who fought alongside the Nazis against Canada during WWII. That got Hunka a rousing standing ovation from clueless Liberal Party members, including PM Justin Trudeau. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, present to witness this travesty, gave a fist pump even though he's a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust and whose town the Nazis burned to the ground. Nothing about this story makes any sense. The room erupted because their leader was telling them to do that, not because the dummies had any idea of what was going on—kind of like what used to happen under certain regimes that are now universally reviled.
Rota was forced to resign, but not without a struggle. Apparently, shaming his nation wasn’t a big deal in his mind. Trudeau, absent from "question period" for the next two days, then addressed the nation, apologizing in an unconvincing manner to the Jewish community, the 2SLGTBQIA+ community, the Roma community, and the community of those whom the Nazis "racialized." He blamed Rota, and said it was "deeply embarrassing" to Parliament and all of Canada, while failing to mention the embarrassment to himself. Having delivered empty words uttered in his most earnest voice, the leader of Canada then quickly pivoted to this bizarre diversion: "It's really important to push back against Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation, and continue our steadfast and unequivocal support for Ukraine."
When in doubt, play the Russia card, even when there's no Russia connection and nobody knows what you're talking about.
Rather than bringing the completely uninvolved Russians into this affair (“Nazi Gate”), Trudeau might’ve considered calling an emergency meeting of his staff and letting them know he needs a heads-up the next time he's asked to honor a Nazi. He should start with his Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Alexandra Freeland, a former journalist who got her start working for a nationalist publication in Ukraine. Ask her why she stood and applauded someone she had to have known had a Nazi-related past, and why she didn't say anything about that to him. Later on, Freeland was in the room, nodding her head, when a Liberal Party MP introduced a motion to strike the Hunka affair from the record. But despite such attempts to erase it, this scandal will live on as a reminder of the government Justin Trudeau presides over.
Trudeau wants the world to worry about Russian propaganda so it doesn't focus on him. His concern is over statements like this one from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov: "Western countries, including Canada, have raised a young generation that does not know who fought whom or what happened during the Second World War. And they know nothing about the threat of fascism." But this appears to be more factual than propagandistic, given the fact that the Canadian parliament cheered as if Nelson Mandela were in the house after it was told it was honoring someone who'd fought against the Canadian side in WWII.
As for Canadians not knowing about the threat of fascism, Peskov may be on to something. Trudeau claims to see it creeping in everywhere, from the opposition only, of course. The PM said that the Freedom Convoy protesters occupying Ottawa in early-2022 were a "fringe minority" who promote "hate, abuse and racism." So what was the government's response? The Emergencies Act allowed it to freeze the bank accounts, without a court order, of those donating to the working-class protesters while enabling federal and provincial governments to share the protesters' financial information with the RCMP, Canada's FBI. Imagine if a politician called for that to happen to anyone donating to BLM during the "mostly peaceful" protests after George Floyd's death that often turned into riots. They'd have been called a "fascist."
The government assuming emergency powers has a history worth paying attention to. "The Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich" (also known as the "Enabling Act"), that passed in Germany on March 23, 1933, allowed Hitler to enact unconstitutional laws without approval of either parliament or Reich President von Hindenburg. That law paved the road to the Holocaust. Justin Trudeau claims to be able to spot fascism from afar, but he can't smell it when it's right under his nose.