Learning From Our Canadian Neighbors

A Speaker of the House shows real integrity

Gippolito Ndp

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Just recently our neighbors to the north showed us here in America something rarely seen — a politician who can admit error, accept responsibility for it, and act with integrity and honor.

Follow the story and then feel free to cite me at least one example of similar conduct by an American politician since 2016 — especially a Republican politician.

The only one who comes to my mind — and it’s not quite the same thing — is Al Franken … a Democrat. On the other hand, Senator Bob Menendez is a Democrat and he doesn’t seem likely to put the Senate above himself.

But, please do tell me of any Republicans.

Here’s the headline from the CNN reporting I’m talking about:

Screenshot by author from CNN article, accessed 9/26/23

The House Speaker in question is named Anthony Rota, and for my money an honorable and admirable fellow.

Last week, following an address by Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy to a joint session of the Canadian Parliament, Mr. Rota spoke in praise about a Ukranian-Canadian war hero named Yaroslav Hunka, who is now 98 years old, saying that he:

‘fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russian aggressors then, and continues to support the troops today.’

But, in what seems likely to be poor staff work, Mr. Hunka’s Nazi past was missed. It seems that long ago Mr. Hunka was part of a Nazi unit called the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division, part of the SS.

But look at what Mr. Rota had to say about his error as reported by CNN:

‘This house is above any of us, therefore I must step down as your speaker,’ Rota said in parliament Tuesday afternoon, reiterating his ‘profound regret for my error.’

‘That public recognition has caused pain to individuals and communities, including the Jewish community in Canada and around the world, in addition to survivors of Nazi atrocities in Poland, among other nations,’ Rota, who is a member of the Liberal party, added. “I accept full responsibility for my actions.’

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Gippolito Ndp

Dad, G-dad, veteran, semi-retired lawyer, archaeologist, writer