On Monday, after months of denying it, the proof came out that Justin Trudeau had also invited Yaroslav Hunka to an official government event. Hunka is the 98 year-old Ukrainian-Canadian who received a standing ovation when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Ottawa.
Of course, we later found out that Hunka had fought with a Nazi Waffen-SS unit, and House Speaker Anthony Rota lost his job over the incident.
“This was deeply embarrassing for the House and for Canada,” the prime minister said at the time.
Liberals cabinet ministers like Karina Gould and Melanie Joly lined up to call for Rota to resign after the incident.
“I can’t see, based on the conversations I have had, how he can continue to have the support of Liberal members of Parliament,” Gould said in calling for Rota to resign.
“What happened on Friday is completely unacceptable. It was an embarrassment to the House and Canadians,” said Trudeau’s foreign minister, Melanie Joly.
On Tuesday, after the publication of the letter from Trudeau’s office inviting Hunka to a Toronto event where he would have been present with the PM and Zelenskyy, Liberals struck a much different chord.
“Will he hold himself to the very same standard and admit that he’s not fit for office?” Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre asked during question period.
“The attacks that the leader of the Opposition is choosing to make against the Ukrainian Canadian Congress demonstrates the extent to which this Conservative Party no longer stands with Ukraine,” Trudeau said.
“Why are they abandoning Ukraine!”
Strange, the question was about Hunka and Trudeau’s invite. Trudeau claimed that the question was an attack on the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the group which put forward Hunka’s name to be invited — a fact we only know because Trudeau’s office used the organization’s name in their statement when questioned by the media about the invite.
It was Trudeau and his team that threw the Congress under the bus.
Look, if Liberal MPs and cabinet ministers truly believed that one of their own, Anthony Rota, had to resign as speaker over what happened last September, then surely they must feel the same way about Trudeau. Or, at least, they would if they had any standards other than double standards.
The issue of Ukraine has turned from something taken seriously in Ottawa to something of a political stick to beat each other with. The Liberals are tanking in the polls and are desperate to use anything they can to gain back support, including claiming the Conservatives have abandoned Ukraine.
On Tuesday afternoon, Liberal MPs booed as the Conservatives, led by Poilievre, stood to vote against the Canada-Ukraine free trade deal. They didn’t vote against it because they oppose free trade — it was the Harper government that struck the deal. They oppose it because it will enshrine Canada’s carbon tax in an international treaty.
The Liberals have spent months pushing this claim about opposition to this bill, which passed anyway in a vote of 214-116.
Meanwhile, as the Liberals attack the Conservatives over this issue, they struggle to explain why the missile defence system they promised Ukraine a year ago still hasn’t been delivered or why 83,000 surplus rockets Ukraine asked for last November have yet to be shipped.
Trudeau seems to think that what Ukraine needs to fight Putin isn’t military equipment, but a trade agreement that is updated to talk about carbon pricing.
The reality is that it was Trudeau and his government that gave Russia the biggest PR win by inviting a former soldier of a Nazi unit into Canada’s Parliament with Zelenskyy present and then applauding him.
Now we know that, despite his claims otherwise, Trudeau and his office are guilty of the same sin as Rota. He deserves the same punishment.