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Canada Lectures U.N. on ‘Systemic Racism’ amid Nazi Homage Scandal

by Frances Martel

The Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, represented his country at the General Assembly on Tuesday with a speech urging countries to “end systemic racism,” “walk the path towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” and “protect and promote” LGBTQ2IA+ individuals.

Rae’s speech followed an incident in the Canadian Parliament in which lawmakers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered two standing ovations to Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old veteran of the Second World War-era Waffen-SS paramilitary.

The Canadian Parliament’s House Speaker Anthony Rota introduced the Nazi soldier as “a veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today even at his age of 98.”

Nazi Germany is one of history’s deadliest and most totalitarian implementers of systemic racism in history, enacting a genocide that killed 6 million Jews – and also targeted Roma people and suspected homosexuals – in a quest to establish a racially “pure” state. Canada declared war on Nazi Germany and lost 45,400 troops fighting against the forces Hunka is said to have volunteered for.

Rota resigned from his position on Tuesday for his role in orchestrating an homage to a Nazi, expressing “profound regret” that the incident happened, but critics say he fell on his sword to protect Prime Minister Trudeau, who they allege had knowledge of the planned introduction of Hunka beforehand.

Rae did not mention the ongoing controversy during his United Nations address, though he did sing the praises of being apologetic to the audience.

“The health of our planet, our people, our institutions, and our global economy are at serious risk. This diagnosis was reinforced to me during a recent conversation with Wilton Littlechild,” Rae narrated, “a former Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and member of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He implored Canada – and all of us here at the UN – not to look at the issues in isolation.”

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