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Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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Canadian Parliament’s mistake proves Nazis feel too comfortable

Oct 04, 2023

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On Friday, Sept. 22, the Canadian House of Commons gave a Ukrainian former Nazi soldier, Yaroslav Hunka, a standing ovation during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit. Lawmakers were unaware of Hunka’s Nazi past until a local Jewish group issued a statement.

Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence argues that today’s culture allows Nazis to live “without fear of consequence” for their actions and that we need to navigate back to a time when they were uncomfortable spreading their hate.

How negligent must a lawmaker be to accidentally invite a presumed war criminal to the highest-ranking legislative body to be honored with a standing ovation? Although I do not have an answer to that perplexing question, I do know that this former SS soldier willingly accepting the invitation of parliament is the bigger problem here. 

The climate we created has literally emboldened Nazis to shamelessly walk among us without fear of consequence. Unless we want a repeat of World War II, the free world must do better in fighting the rise of Nazism and other forms of white nationalism.

To give you a better idea of how we got here, Yaroslav Hunka is the 98-year-old who welcomed applause from the Canadian Parliament earlier this month. He had been invited by the representative of his district — who also was the speaker of the House of Commons — kind of a BFD position to drop the ball this hard. Yeah. 

Anyway, the speaker thought that it’d be a nice touch to have Hunka present, because Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would be present. In ranting and raving about Hunka’s greatness, the speaker called the nonagenarian a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and so on. The speaker bestowed all of this praise in front of Zelenskyy, Parliament and the free world, only to later learn from local Jewish groups that Hunka served with the 14th Waffen SS Division. The man was a well-known Nazi.

Upon learning that Canada’s Parliament inadvertently honored a former Nazi soldier earlier this month, I was appalled to the point of astonished and I don’t mean a mom’s basement reddit made insult type Nazi. This dude was a near century old OG. How negligent must a lawmaker be to accidentally invite a presumed war criminal to the highest ranking legislative body to be honored with a standing ovation? Although I do not have an answer to that perplexing question, I do know that this former SS soldier, willingly accepting the invitation of parliament is the bigger problem here. 

 

The climate we created has literally embolden Nazis to shamelessly walk among us without fear of consequence. Unless we want a repeat of World War Two, the free world must do better in fighting the rise of Nazism and other forms of white nationalism. To give you a better idea of how we got here, Yaroslav Hunka is the 98 year old who welcomed applause from the Canadian Parliament earlier this month. He had been invited by the representative of his district who also is the Speaker of the House of Commons — kind of a BFD position to drop the ball this hard. Yeah. 

 

Anyway, the speaker thought that it’d be a nice touch to have Hunka present because Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky would be present. In ranting and raving about Hunka’s greatness, the speaker called the nonagenarian, a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero and so on. The speaker bestowed all of this praise in front of Zelensky, Parliament and the free world, only to later learn from local Jewish groups that Hunka served with the 14th Waffen SS Division. The man was a well known Nazi. 

 

Sure the speaker resigned and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it embarrassing, but neither talked to action. Other than doing basic background checks, what do you plan to do to make it such that Nazis don’t feel comfortable in our midst? These genocidal war criminals used to stay in hiding. Josef Mengele did a tour de South America fleeing to Argentina, then Paraguay and Brazil before Satan called him home. Former SS members were often trying to keep a very low profile for fear of being identified and punished. But clearly not in today’s day and age. 

 

Hunka’s very public appearance is proof enough, and that should be terrifying enough. Who gives a damn if Trudeau feels a little bit awkward about the situation and the rest of us marginalized people are terrified. Nazis are openly protesting across Florida and other states, hate crimes are on the rise in the US. They also jumped 27% in Canada in recent years. Germany just cracked down on neo Nazi sects, conducting raids in 10 states. 

 

What is the free world doing to make Nazism shameful again? I can tell you that Poland’s putting in some work. Its ministry has already initiated the process toward investigating whether Hunka committed crimes on their land and whether that can lead to extradition. Then bear in mind that Canada doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Poland, which would make it difficult to hold Hunka accountable. And so perhaps that 98 year old may live in Canada in part for those reasons, we really don’t know. But we definitely know we need to get back to a free world where Nazis do not feel comfortable. Because for the rest of us knowing that Nazis are plenty comfortable coming up before Parliament, protesting on the streets and really just flexing all their Nazism. It leaves the rest of us incredibly uncomfortable.

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