March 5th, 2024

Speaker suggests more guest screenings after MPs applauded man who fought for Nazis

By The Canadian Press on February 13, 2024.

Speaker of the House of Commons Greg Fergus makes a speaker's statement before Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. in Ottawa. Fergus is suggesting that certain guests who are recognized in the House of Commons should go through a reputational screening, in addition to a check where they are screened for physical threats. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – Speaker Greg Fergus is proposing that certain guests who are recognized in the House of Commons should be screened for their reputations as well as whether they pose a physical threat.

Clerk Eric Janse shared the suggestion today as a committee of MPs discusses whether changes are needed after Parliament unwittingly applauded a Nazi veteran last year.

Yaroslav Hunka, who fought the Soviet Union with a Ukrainian voluntary unit created by the Nazis, attended a September address by Ukraine’s president.

The then-Speaker, Anthony Rota, took responsibility for inviting and recognizing the 98-year-old veteran and stepped down.

Janse says Fergus, who was elected Speaker after that resignation, is also suggesting to House leaders that information about guests being recognized should be shared with all parties.

The clerk says guests are currently only screened for physical threats, and staff rarely have the time to do an in-depth analysis of all risks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2024.

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