STORY: ROTA: “...I’m deeply sorry that I’ve offended many with my gesture and remarks.”
That's the speaker of Canada's House of Commons, apologizing for praising an individual at a parliamentary meeting who served in a Nazi unit during World War Two.
On Friday, during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Speaker Anthony Rota recognized 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka as a, quote, “Ukrainian hero.”
Hunka served in World War Two as a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, according to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group that demanded an apology on Sunday.
Rota acknowledged Hunka after a speech by Zelenskiy, praising the World War Two veteran for fighting for Ukrainian independence against the Russians.
"...Even at his age of 98."
Hunka received two standing ovations from lawmakers.
In his apology, Rota said he alone was responsible.
ROTA: “No one, including you my fellow parliamentarians or the Ukraine delegation, was privy to my remarks prior to their delivery.”
In parliament, reaction came quickly from the government...
"I think it's been deeply embarrassing for Canada, and I think it was deeply embarrassing for the president of the Ukraine who came here in friendship..."
And members of the opposition.
"It was profoundly hurtful for so many Canadians and to people around the world. And he has to step down as a consequence of that."
Hunka could not be reached for comment.