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New Westminster-Burnaby MP says Speaker made the 'right call' in resigning

Veteran NDP MP says Friday’s incident in the House of Commons has harmed the Jewish community and weaponized Russia.
Peter Julian
Peter Julian says speaker Anthony Rota made the right call in resigning as Speaker in the House of Commons.

New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian supports Anthony Rota’s decision to resign.

In a statement, the NDP MP said Rota made the “right call” in resigning today as Speaker in the House of Commons.

Rota, a Liberal MP for the Ontario riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming, invited one of the constituents in his riding, 98-year-old Ukrainian veteran Yaroslav Hunka, to be a guest in the parliamentary gallery during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Sept. 22 address to Parliament. It was soon revealed that Hunka was part of the First Ukrainian Division in the Second World War, a voluntary unit under the command of the Nazis.

Julian, the federal NDP House leader, said it “brings us no joy” to see the Speaker resign, but it’s the right decision after Friday’s events.

"We fully accept Mr. Rota’s apology and believe that he didn’t intend to cause harm but, unfortunately, there are very real consequences to his lapse in judgment,” Julian said in a Sept. 26 statement following Rota’s resignation. “The harm that this incident has inflicted on the Jewish community is unacceptable, and we wish everyone who has been hurt peace and healing. We also acknowledge that President Zelenskyy was invited to our Parliament by the prime minister, to shore up support for the ongoing war in his country.”

According to Julian, Russia is already “weaponizing this incident to harm President Zelenskyy and undermine Ukrainians’ effort to protect their home from an illegal invasion.”

Julian is also calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to apologize and to help mitigate the harm that this has caused Ukraine and its leadership.

“And finally, Canada’s reputation has been harmed on the international stage. For these reasons, we felt that Mr. Rota lost the confidence of the House and he had to step aside,” Julian said in the statement. “We want to acknowledge the hard work he did during the pandemic to ensure Canadians’ democracy could continue to function during unprecedented challenges. We wish him well and thank him for making this difficult decision.”