The federal government cannot explain how an invitation was extended to Waffen SS member Yaroslav Hunka, and attributes blame to an “external party.” The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) confirmed Tuesday Justin Trudeau invited Hunka to a 'special event' in Toronto September 22 in honour of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukraine-Canadian community. This came after Rebel News published an access to information request exposing the invite through the Office of Protocol of Canada at the Department of Foreign Affairs, which read, “The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, is pleased to invite you to a special event.”Despite the confirmation from the PMO’s office, Cabinet claimed to be “caught off guard” hearing about the VIP invitation extended to a Waffen SS member, a group that in 1946 was declared a criminal organization by the Nuremberg Tribunal, per Blacklock’s Reporter, when the matter came up in parliament Tuesday. “My understanding is an invitation based on the list submitted by an external party went out to invite 1,000 people to this event in Toronto,” Government House Leader Steven MacKinnon said. “We’ll get more of the details when they’re available.”“What we are talking about is a name that came from a community organization,” said MacKinnon. “Obviously the Prime Minister had no knowledge of this.”Opposition House Leader Andrew Scheer said there was no denying Hunka received VIP treatment. “The government and the prime minister in particular were at great pains to distance themselves from any connection to this individual, claiming they had absolutely nothing to do with his invitation,” said Scheer. “Here is the kicker — it was the prime minister’s invitation.” He then read aloud the Commons record, beginning with the subject heading : “RSVP Official Events.”“We now know this individual, this former SS member, was already on the protocol list,” Scheer said. “He was already on the list of people to be invited.”Trudeau earlier attempted to place blame on the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, an organizer of the event, for orchestrating the invitation. On September 22, Zelensky delivered a speech during Parliament in advocacy for the Russia-Ukraine war. Hunka was in attendance — presented as a war hero for fighting against Russia in the Ukrainian army, and was received by a standing ovation from MPs of all parties. In the days afterwards media reports surfaced Hunka fought for Nazi Germany.“We have here in the chamber today a Ukrainian-Canadian war veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today even at his age of 98,” then House Speaker Anthony Rota said. “His name is Yaroslav Hunka.”“I am very proud to say he is from North Bay and from my riding of Nipissing-Temiskaming,” said Rota. “He is a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service. Thank you.”Rota apologized and later resigned after it came out Hunka was a volunteer with the 14 Waffen SS Grenadier Division and interned as an enemy prisoner of war in 1945, per Blacklock’s Reporter.In November, the House Affairs Committee agreed to conduct hearings into the incident “given the hurt and international embarrassment created.” The hearings are still not scheduled, but Blacklock’s Reporter reported witnesses from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Prime Minister’s Office will be summoned.