Justin Trudeau’s government sees fascists everywhere, except when one is standing right under their nose. That’s the brilliant if bleak irony of the Canadian Parliament’s standing ovation for Yaroslav Hunka, a ninety-eight-year-old veteran of the Ukrainian military who, it turns out, fought under the Nazis in World War Two.
It was an extraordinary sight, surely unprecedented in the modern West. At the behest of House Speaker Anthony Rota, MPs rose to their feet and gave rousing applause to an old man who once fought on the same side as Hitler. It occurred following an address to the parliament by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. He clapped too.
Trudeau himself, the most right-on man in Christendom, ostentatious loather of the far right (which is basically anyone who disagrees with him), applauded with vim for this former associate of the SS.
This is the same Trudeau who fantasizes that Nazism lurks everywhere. Who gleefully brands his critics as “far right.” Who has damned everyone from parents worried about LGBTQ education to truckers concerned about vaccine mandates as foot-soldiers of a 1930s-style populism.
Indeed, just a few months ago he sneered at the “far-right political actors” who are trying to “outdo themselves with the types of cruelty and isolation they can inflict on already vulnerable people.”
MPs rose to their feet and gave rousing applause to an old bloke who once fought on the same side as Hitler
Who are these fascistic nutters, visiting hate on the weak? Parents, basically. Trudeau was referring to a decision by the premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs, a center-right politician, to change the gender rules in schools so that parental consent would be required for any kid under the age of sixteen to “transition” to a new name or new pronouns. Sounds sensible to me; to Trudeau, though, it had End of the Weimar Republic vibes.
As a writer for the National Post said, in Trudeau-world “parental rights are now a ‘far-right’ political issue.” This PC PM is disparaging “millions of parents by lumping them in with other far-right radicals like white supremacists and fascists,” the Post said.
Welcome to “Woke Canada,” where moms and pops who would rather their kid wasn’t transitioned behind their backs are far right, while a literal former SS fighter gets a fulsome round of applause.
Trudeau also hinted that the Freedom Convoy of truckers that occupied Ottawa in early 2022 to protest against mandated vaccination were far right, or at least very extreme. These people are a “fringe minority” who promote “hate, abuse and racism,” he said.
Left-wing talking heads were more frank. One radical magazine condemned the truckers as a “proto-fascist” movement. All hail morally correct Canada, where working-class men who stand up for their jobs are “proto-fascists” while a former fascist-adjacent soldier is cheered in the corridors of power.
Many will say that Rota — who has now resigned — Trudeau and the other clapping seals were not aware of Hunka’s SS-linked past. And that’s fair enough. Although you don’t need a PhD in European history to think that a Ukrainian military man who fought against the Ruskies in the 1940s was probably linked with the Nazis.
Trudeau has apologized for the “embarrassing” ovation for Hunka. And Hunka, of course, is not a fascist anymore. It’s possible he never was one — many Ukrainians will have sided with the Nazis more from hatred for Russia than love for Hitler.
And yet the Hunka scandal is a perfect snapshot of the liberal elite’s weird and delirious obsession with the far right. They marshall the horrors of the 1940s to condemn their critics in the here and now, as if every trucker protest and parental uprising were a harbinger of a new Fourth Reich. Yet when face to face with someone who was involved in the horrors of the 1940s, they smile and fawn.
The cluelessness is off the scale. It’s good that Trudeau has said sorry for dumbly applauding a former SS fighter — when will he apologize for his equally dumb demonization of his opponents as far-right lunatics?
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.