The accidental honouring of a Nazi unit veteran in the House of Commons was caused by Canada’s “indifference and inaction” over its history with Nazis, according to a former federal justice minister.

“This was a failure here. Indifference and inaction by successive Canadian governments—the result being that we became a sanctuary for Nazi war criminals—and no accountability then ensued,” Irwin Cotler told CTV News in an interview on Oct. 1.

During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Parliament in Ottawa on Sept. 22, House Speaker Anthony Rota recognized Yaroslav Hunka as a “veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians,” and a “Canadian hero.”

The parliamentarians who applauded Mr. Hunka later became aware that during World War II he fought with the 4th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, a military wing of the Nazi Party. Mr. Rota later resigned as House Speaker over the incident.

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