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Oh, Canada: Parliament salutes a Nazi
Notes on the failing Canadian experiment, and a government boldly venturing into depths deeper than rock bottom.
"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would
carry on the struggle one day clap for the Nazis…”
The mind reels.
When no low is too low, the brain struggles to compute.
After a week where Trudeau declared a culture war on the world’s largest democracy and sank to 22% (!) in the polls, Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s neo-liberal press tour, which at times inexplicably drifted into Current Thing self-parody, was supposed to represent a lifeline, a way out, a path back to 23%.
Then came the clapping, the asinine Tru-Anon policing of said clapping, and, finally, a sober second glance at the guest list.
For the country with a cottage industry of anti-hate hustlers and ‘disinformation experts’ (which to this day remains an imaginary profession), where practically everyone to the right of far-left has been denigrated as a Nazi (or Nazi-adjacent) at least once over the past eight years, Canada finally found one:
A real-live SS officer; a member of team Final Solution; a former subscriber to Grandpa Freeland’s newspaper.
And the sons of bitches stood and clapped.
“I've done some digging on this old Nazi,” reported our beloved associate the Golden Pup, quick on the draw with far more detail than the subsidized press and Canada’s many discount-brand Taylor Lorenzes, who not so surprisingly took yesterday off:
“Yaroslav Hunka was a Ukrainian nationalist who joined the SS Galichina division when he was 18. The SS Galichina division was composed mostly of Ukrainian volunteers who allied with Nazi Germany in hopes of gaining independence from the Soviet Union. In 1943, SS Galichina was involved in suppressing partisan resistance in Ukraine. There are reports that members participated in the burning of villages and killing of civilians suspected of aiding partisans.
In 1944, the division was implicated in the murder of Polish civilians in the regions of Huta Pieniacka and Palikrowy. Estimates range from a few hundred to over 1,000 civilians killed. At the end of the war in 1945, Hunka surrendered along with the remaining SS Galichina members to British forces in Italy. He was held as a prisoner of war until 1947. After the war, some former SS Galichina members, such as Hunka, who had resettled in countries like Canada and the USA came under investigation for possible war crimes. However, most were never prosecuted due to lack of evidence or witnesses.
In the 1980s, the Canadian government investigated Hunka and other Galicia Division veterans over allegations they concealed their SS membership when entering Canada. However, no charges were ever filed against Hunka. In the 2000s, several historians pressured the Canadian government to strip citizenship from former members implicated in war crimes, but the efforts were unsuccessful.”
European history is wrought with, perhaps somewhat ironically, a veritable Russian nesting doll of conflicts and blood feuds that baffle even the finest of intellects, let alone a Liberal Cabinet staffed almost exclusively with wedding guests, but when the Liberal Speaker of the House — who, at independent press time is on the precipice of being made to fall on this Stielhandgranate — introduces their other distinguished guest as having “fought against the Russians” during World War Two, that shouldn’t have just sounded alarm bells for those in attendance, but air raid sirens.
And yet, they clapped. They clapped because they were supposed to clap. They clapped because an industrial complex fueled by the bodies of young men and the purchasing power of an ever-shrinking middle class demanded more carbohydrates.
They also clapped because they cared, or shared Ukranian heritage, and because they held wholly reasonable beliefs about a stance against Russian aggression, and the increasingly dysregulated president of the Russian Federation.
But they still clapped… on the eve of Yom Kippur… for a Nazi.
They’re not all sons of bitches, of course. A few are, to be sure. A few knew the score and cared not.
The PMO certainly knew. Nothing is arranged without a certain Katie Telford’s say-so. Everyone would have been vetted, particularly with such a high-value VIP in the room. That’s how political meet-and-greets are handled. What ends up on ‘the Gram’ takes hard work behind the scenes.
But they all deserve their lumps. The Conservatives may have been in a bind, but even confused and tepid performative cheers for a swastika-embroidered curveball still represent a net negative for a fledgling republic, where the majority can’t own a home or access timely healthcare, parents are now “far-right,” truckers and the unvaccinated were seen as worse, and the Jewish Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition was smeared for “standing with Nazis” by the same prime minister who just played host to the genuine article, and led a standing ovation.
Yom Kippur is supposed to mark the end of the Ten Days of Awe that began with Rosh Hashanah, not kickstart its very own slack-jawed news cycle.
When a Nazi gets invited to parliament in 2023 and everyone claps, what emotions can be left but astonishment, consternation, and horror?
There should be no need for reflection, repentance, and renewal.
The promise of Canada has been broken; the memories of our war dead sullied; our core principles made rotten.
When it comes to the world’s least serious country — and the moron(s) who run it — just tear the whole damned thing down and start over.
Unplugging the applause sign would be a good place to start.
Alexander Brown is a writer, comms director, and part-time politico. If you enjoyed this edition of the newsletter, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.