Canada apologizes for honoring yet another Nazi soldier

A week after Canadian parliamentary speaker resigns over honoring of Nazi soldier, Ottawa apologizes for giving highest honor to another soldier who served with the Waffen-SS.


A week after Anthony Rota, the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons, resigned over its parliament honoring a Ukrainian man who fought in a voluntary Nazi unit, another highly decorated member in the Waffen-SS Galicia Division has come to light.

Peter Savaryn was chancellor of the University of Alberta, a public school in Edmonton, from 1982 to 1986.

The following year, he received the Order of Canada—an honor also bestowed on ice-hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, film director James Cameron and folk singer Joni Mitchell.

The Forward, which broke the news, called the award “akin to the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Mary Simon, the governor general of Canada—King Charles III’s representative to the country—expressed “deep regret” for Savaryn’s receipt of the Order of Canada, she told The Forward.

She said some of the honors that Savaryn received are currently under review.

Two weeks ago, the Canadian House of Commons – with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in attendance – hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a special session, during which the Ukrainian leader addressed parliament.

During the event, the House of Commons honored 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, who was introduced by Speaker Anthony Rota and given a standing ovation from Canadian lawmakers.

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Rota later said that he was unaware that Hunka, who had been selected for the honor due to his service in World War II, had served in Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS.

“In my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so,” Rota said in a statement.