Tue | Dec 5, 2023

The flip side of not putting two and two together

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:05 AM


That adage about a picture being worth a thousand words sprang to mind when opening an email recently. It had a photograph of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looking towards the public gallery of the Canadian parliament on September 22, and his expression was one of great concern. The story about how the Canadian House Speaker invited a 98-year-old hometown constituent to attend the resident’s visit has become worldwide news.

When Yaroslav Hunka was introduced as a Ukrainian hero who had fought against the Russians in World War II (WW2), all in the parliamentary chamber jumped to their feet for a standing ovation, while the Speaker beamed like the cat who had swallowed the canary. Within hours, the ugly truth emerged that the veteran had fought alongside the Nazis, and the Speaker soon resigned in disgrace. Many observers wanted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shoulder some blame for such a world- class snafu, but Mr Teflon Trudeau declined.

Ukraine was a basket case long before last year’s invasion by belligerent President Putin, and second only to Russia as the most corrupt regime in Europe. Yet, NATO countries continue pouring billions of dollars into Kyiv’s coffers and war chest. Unfortunately, it was even more chaotic back in the the 1940s as WW2 gripped the entire continent and beyond. Many Ukrainians joined armies of Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, USA and Canada to fight against Germany. Others aligned with Adolf Hitler’s forces to fight against Josef Stalin’s Russia. Imagine, for a Ukrainian teenager to survive by having to choose to fight for either Hitler or Stalin, even if he was not coerced, it was definitely a Hobson’s Choice.

So, when he was introduced in the public gallery as having fought against the Russians, President Zelenskyy must have immediately guessed that the veteran had enlisted with the Nazis, hence the look of great concern on the president’s face. Behind his right shoulder was Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, grinning from ear to ear as she led the applause. Ironically, it was affirmed in the Ottawa Citizen six years ago that her Ukrainian grandfather was a Nazi collaborator while editor of their propaganda publication Krakivski Viski during WW2. He worked first in Poland but, as the Russians advanced, had fled to Vienna with his Nazi colleagues. Surely, Finance Minister Freeland should have twigged about Mr Hunka’s obvious Nazi connections, but instead chose to play along with Teflon Trudeau and others, by not putting two and two together.


Parksville, BC