UWindsor Poli-Sci prof weighs in following House Speaker's resignation


The fallout continues after a man who fought for a Nazi unit during the Second World War was recognized in the House of Commons during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to Parliament last week.

Anthony Rota resigned as Speaker of the House of Commons over his invitation to 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka.

He announced his unprecedented decision to step aside after meeting with the House leaders from all parties on Parliament Hill Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking on AM800's The Shift, University of Windsor Professor of Political Science Lydia Miljan says it's a huge embarrassment not just for parliament but for the whole country.

She says it's concerning that people working in the offices on the hill didn't catch this before it happened.

"It really is quite shocking, and I get it that maybe people are distracted by other things and they just go 'Oh great, we've got somebody who ticked off this box' and they're not thinking about the bigger picture," Miljan continued. "But as soon as someone says they fought against the Russians in WWII that should be a big red flag."

Miljan says it's honourable for Rota to step aside, even if it took a few days too long, but the government has to take responsibility as well.

She was in Toronto last week and saw all the effort that went into planning for other events related to the visit first hand, which makes the oversight even more incredulous.

"How important this event was, and somehow the Speaker of the House wasn't doing his due diligence? And that they wouldn't have somehow mentioned it to the RCMP and to all of the people organizing the Zelenskyy visit in Ottawa? It kind of boggles the mind that you wouldn't have more than one person looking at this file."

Miljan says given the easy access to information in this day and age, a mistake like this should not have been made.

She says the timing is also problematic given other diplomatic disputes the country is currently dealing with.

"The damage is pretty bad, especially just on the whole with the India thing. I mean there's just one thing after the other, and it is starting to become quite ridiculous. I really am wondering how long the Prime Minister can stay in his position, because he just keeps on throwing people under the bus. Every time there's a scandal, it's never him," Miljan stated.

It's expected that once Rota's resignation is in-effect, when MPs convene on Thursday, the process to select a new House Speaker will then get underway.