Canadian Parliament
Canadian ParliamentiStock

Canada's House of Commons on Tuesday elected Greg Fergus as its new speaker, after the previous speaker quit following uproar over his inviting a former Nazi soldier to parliament, Reuters reported.

The members of the 338-seat House voted for Fergus in a secret ballot. He became the first Black Canadian to hold the post of speaker.

"Today you're the first Black Canadian to become speaker," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. "It should be inspiring for all Canadians, especially younger generations who want to get involved in politics."

Former speaker Anthony Rota, a member of the governing Liberal party, resigned last week after inviting Yaroslav Hunka, 98, a Polish-born Ukrainian who served in one of Adolf Hitler's Waffen SS units during World War Two, to the House when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke there in late September.

Without knowing Hunka's full background, Rota publicly recognized him as a veteran soldier for Ukraine and a hero who had emigrated to Canada.

Jewish groups had demanded an apology over the incident and while Rota did apologize, that was not enough to quiet down the calls on him to step down.

After Rota resigned, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized for the recognition of Hunka, saying, "For all of us who were present to have unknowingly recognized this individual was a terrible mistake and a violation of the memory of those who suffered grievously at the hands of the Nazi regime."