Polish Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek, with Ukrainian Nazi SS Galicia formation on the back.
The ‘Nazigate’ scandal continues to rage both in Canada and in Europe.
Anthony Rota resigned to his speakership of the Canadian House, insisting he was solely to blame for the invitation made to Yaroslav Hunka to appear in Parliament.
The 98-year-old Ukrainian Canadian veteran fought in the Nazi SS Galizien during the Second World War – a formation involved in multiple war crimes.
Now, in a move sure to escalate tensions, Poland’s education minister declared he has taken steps to effect the extradition of Hunka to Poland.
Hunka was invited to sit in the parliamentary gallery, allegedly by Speaker Anthony Rota, during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Parliament.
Rota introduced Hunka as a ‘Ukrainian hero’ and a ‘Canadian hero’, prompting a standing ovation in the House of Commons.
But it was soon reported that Hunka was part of the First Ukrainian Division, also known as the Waffen-SS Galicia Division or the SS 14th Waffen Division, a voluntary unit that was under the command of the Nazis.
“In view of the scandalous events in the Canadian Parliament, which involved honoring, in the presence of President Zelensky, a member of the criminal Nazi SS Galizien formation, I have taken steps towards the possible extradition of this man to Poland’, Przemysław Czarnek said in a social media post Tuesday.”
Anthony Rota announced his resignation Tuesday (26), after he apologized to the House and insisted that the decision to invite Hunka was entirely his own.
Rota said he personally regretted inviting Hunka and pointing him out in the gallery following Zelensky’s remarks.
“Robert Currie, a law professor at Dalhousie University and an expert in extradition law, told CBC News Canada does not have a formal extradition agreement with Poland.
‘That doesn’t prevent extradition. It just makes it a matter of more paperwork between the two governments’, he said.”
Polish Minister Czarnek, responsible for the initiative to extradite Hunka, is a member of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, and is a conservative re-elected last year on a platform condemning LGBT ideology.
“Czarnek is a controversial figure in Poland, with a history of coming under fire for making anti LGBTQ comments. […] Last year he had to retract a statement linking the LGBTQ rights movement with Nazism.”
While Czarnek may not be very ‘media-friendly’ for the west, his move may end up finding popular backing in Poland.
“In a letter to Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, a body that researches and investigates past crimes against the Polish nation, Czarnek asked it to ‘urgently examine’ whether Hunka is wanted for crimes against Polish people of Jewish origin, adding that ‘signs of such crimes are grounds to apply to Canada for his extradition’.”
Back in Canada’s, Attorney General Arif Virani said he has not been contacted by the Polish government over any extradition request.
He specified that ‘commenting on early stages of an extradition process is not appropriate’.
“’What I would say to you is that an extradition process is a sensitive matter that ultimately comes across my desk for a final decision’, Virani added. ‘Apropos of that, I can’t be commenting on an extradition matter until it actually appears in front of my desk because that would jeopardize the investigation’.”
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