Controversy consumes Parliament
This week in the House of Commons has been tumultuous, leading to the resignation of our House Speaker, Anthony Rota. An election for a new Speaker is scheduled for next Tuesday, October 3rd.
Before moving forward, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to Speaker Rota for his dedicated service to Canadians and all Members of the House of Commons. Ultimately, the Speaker must always serve to maintain the integrity of the Office of the Speaker. By resigning, Speaker Rota has fulfilled this responsibility.
For the record, I would also like to state that I support Speaker Rota’s decision, considering the grave circumstances of the past week.
A serious and unfortunate situation occurred during the address to our Canadian Parliament from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last Friday, September 22nd. The controversy was a standing ovation for an individual described as “a war hero.” The individual in question was later identified as a Ukrainian who had served as a former member of a Nazi Waffen-SS unit, fighting for Hitler against the Soviet Army in World War II.
For those unfamiliar, during the height of the Nazi occupation of much of Europe, the Allies liberated many Western European countries, while the Soviet Army defeated the Nazis in many Eastern Bloc countries. All suffered significant losses while fighting against Hitler’s forces to remove these countries from German control or occupation.
The standing ovation on Parliament Hill has caused international embarrassment for Canada. Putin’s Russian propaganda often attempts to use the alleged presence of Nazis in Ukraine as a justification for his illegal war against the Ukrainian people.
Please accept my apologies in advance for trying to summarize significant parts of history in such a brief manner. I want to clarify that I am not disrespecting the importance of this issue. Instead, I am providing some context to explain why the unfortunate situation in Ottawa is of significant concern. Speaker Rota has taken responsibility for inviting the individual in question to President Zelensky’s address and has resigned.
Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Official Opposition, and our caucus have expressed a clear position. Prime Minister Trudeau should respect the requests from Jewish advocacy organizations and other affected communities and offer an official apology for this event.
Furthermore, we advocate for a Parliamentary review to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. Unfortunately, thus far, the Prime Minister has (at the time of my writing this report) refused to show up in Parliament to be accountable for anything that has occurred, much less to offer an apology.
I sincerely hope that the Prime Minister recognizes the error of his current approach and takes this situation more seriously and sincerely.
In the absence of an apology from the Prime Minister, I would like to offer one. To my constituents and all Canadians, you deserve a Parliament that makes Canadians proud on the international stage. This week, our Canadian Parliament has let you down, and you deserve better. While I was not present in the House at the time of this event, I offer my sincere apologies for its occurrence.
As members of the Official Opposition, we will continue to demand an apology and a thorough review from the Prime Minister to ensure such incidents never happen again.
My question to you this week: Are you concerned about this situation?
If you have any concerns or questions, please get in touch with me at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.