July 18, 2020
Canadians have taken to social media over the last 24 hours to express their disgust after news resurfaced of a Nazi-affiliated monument’s existence in Ontario. The monument is located inside St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Cemetery, on the outskirts of Oakville.
The news broke out Internationally due the fact it was vandalized and the police subsequently considered it to be a “hate-motivated” crime. This was in spite of the fact the monument was made to honour the 1st Ukrainian Division, part of 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Galizien. The SS Galizien is accused of serious war crimes, which include burning Polish citizens and Jewish people alive during World War Two.
After significant social media backlash, Halton Police snapped under pressure, and declared they were investigating the defacement as an act of vandalism instead. Despite this change of pace, it left many Canadian wondering why police would make such a comment in the first place. It was either due to police’s ignorance of the monument’s significance, or knowledge of the monument’s significance. Both are equally troubling.
Coupled with criticisms of Halton Police’s suspiciously naive blunder, Canadians took to Twitter to attack Oakville Mayor Rob Burton for his attempts at shifting blame. Burton cited lack of jurisdiction as his reason for not having the monument torn down earlier. This answer didn’t sit well with some people.
Many Canadians were simply disgusted at the whole mess, and indicated that monuments like these are tied to Canada’s history of entrenched anti-Semitism and hatred.
Some Canadians played the Devil’s advocate, but any attempts to do so were quickly shot down.
Huta Pieniacka Massacre
The Ukrainian Galizien Division is accused of murdering countless people on behalf of the Nazis in the 1940s. The peak of their atrocities was the Huta Pieniacka massacre in modern day Ukraine, which saw approximately 900 people slaughtered at their hands.
The Huta Pieniacka massacre is considered to be the most serious crime committed by Ukrainian nationalists in that region of Eastern Europe. On Feb. 28, 1944, Ukrainian volunteers forming a unit of the German 14th SS “Galizien” Division massacred between 850 and 900 people in the village.Source: https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/we-must-remember-the-huta-pieniacka-murder-victims—pm-4901
The Canadian government previously came under for fire from the Russian Embassy (of all places), in 2017. A tweet from the Russian Embassy mentioned the monument in Oakville, as well as another in Alberta. In turn, Ottawa feverishly denied the allegations, and instead defended the monument.
Ottawa continued to accuse the Russians of spreading disinformation. However, an article by the Ottawa Citizen states the Russians were actually telling the truth. Ottawa simply defended the monument to save face, ignoring the war crimes and atrocities it represented.
North 99, a left leaning news organization was the first to start a petition demanding the removal of the monument. Graham Clark started a similar petition on Change.org. Both of these petitions target the City of Oakville.
Toronto Today released its own petition, the difference being it targets the owners of the cemetery, as they have the authority to take the statue down. It appears the police and the city do not have the legal authority to rip the monument down. Only the owner of the cemetery can make that call.
Despite modest activity at the time of writing, Toronto Today’s petition has been shared by several Twitter users.
Article by: Mark Slapinski