Ottawa [Canada], September 27 (ANI): Anthony Rota, the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons resigned on Wednesday amid building pressure over the controversy that erupted after his recognition of a Ukrainian war veteran who fought in a Nazi unit, Canada-based Global News reported.
Rota announced his resignation in the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon. His resignation takes effect at the end of business day Wednesday, he added.
"I must step down as your Speaker," he said. "I reiterate my profound regret"On September 22, during Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy's speech in Canada's Parliament, 98-year-old Ukrainian Yaroslav Hunka, who served in the first Ukrainian division, also known as the SS division "Galicia" during World War II was honoured by the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada Anthony Rota.
This brought criticism from Senior Liberals, the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, all of whom urged Rota to resign, Global News reported.
After facing criticism, Rota apologized twice- first on Sunday when Hunka's background emerged - and then again on Monday. He said that he had no knowledge of his history, and expressed regret for his decision.
Despite the apology, the Opposition MPs said it"wasn't enough" and demanded his resignation from the role.
"The Parliament entrusts the Speaker to guide this Parliament through challenging circumstances," said New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian on Monday in remarks directed toward Rota.
"Unfortunately, I believe a sacred trust has been broken. It's for that reason, for the good of the institution of the House of Commons that I say sadly, I don't believe you can continue in this role. Regrettably, I must respectfully ask that you step aside," Global News quoted him as saying.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet also called for Rota's resignation in a statement on Monday.
"The Bloc Quebecois can only note, on the one hand, the damage caused by the presidency's error, and on the other hand, the loss of confidence of the House which it needs to exercise its function," he said.
He added,"Consequently, we invite the Speaker of the House to act responsibly and renounce his function."Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre blamed Trudeau stating that the Prime Minister's Office should have vetted a guest list drawn up by the Speaker.
"Canadians are sick and tired of a prime minister who never takes responsibility for the things that happen on his watch," Poilievre said, adding there's "constant international embarrassment" with Trudeau at the helm, reported CBC News.
While pointing to Rota, Poilievre said, "He always finds someone else to throw under the bus. Are you that person?"Earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had also called the incident"deeply embarrassing.""It's extremely upsetting that this happened. The Speaker has acknowledged his mistake and has apologized. But this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada and by extension to all Canadians," Trudeau said at a news briefing. (ANI)