Barbed Wire

The Debate Over Redress for Canada's First National Internment Operations

Main Graphic

Edited by Lubomyr Luciuk
Afterword by Mary Manko Haskett

The Justinian Press, 1994

Barbed Wire


Main Graphic

This publication made possible through the generosity
of Mr. and Mrs. W.V. Wally Dowhaniuk of Banff, Alberta
in memory of the Ukrainian Canadians interned at Castle Mountain

Barbed Wire

Editor's Introduction

Reading Maryka Omatsu's book, Bittersweet Passage: Redress and the Japanese Canadian Experience (1992), is a poignant exercise for a Ukrainian Canadian. During the Second World War, members of the Omatsu family were interned in Canada under the provisions of the War Measures Act. Years later, in 1988, as a member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC), Ms. Omatsu helped her community negotiate the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement with the Government of Canada. That achievement was all the more remarkable given the contrary rumblings of an entrenched "old guard" within the Japanese-Canadian community, which tried, time and again, to prevent the redress issue from being raised and, after it was, attempted to dilute its import. To her credit, Ms. Omatsu is blunt in her descriptions of the struggle among Japanese Canadians over whether and how their community's redress issue should be carried forward, and by whom. As some of the materials reprinted here reveal, the Ukrainian-Canadian community's efforts have been similarly bedeviled.

Nevertheless, Ottawa's settlement with the NAJC established a moral and legal precedent for the resolution of other communities' redress cliams, as Ukrainian-Canadian spokesmen and media pundits observed at the time, Perhaps surprisingly, few claims have actually been registered since. Amongst these, the Ukrainian-Canadian case has probably been articulated and broadcast more vigorously than the others, as evidenced by the large-selection of newspaper articles, editorials, letters to the editor, government documents and other materials reprinted in this collection. If nothing else, this compilation is a testament to how much can be achieved through persistent research, educational and lobbying efforts. Certainly an episode about which very few Canadians knew, the internment of Ukrainian Canadians as "enemy aliens" in Canadian concentration camps during the First World War period, has now been reclaimed and introduced into the historical record of Canada. That is no small achievement in and of itself.

Yet the community's campaign for acknowledgement and redress has not, unlike that of our fellow Japanese Canadians, achieved all of its goals, despite ten years of effort. In large measure this is because those officials responsible for dealing with the Ukrainian-Canadian community's claims (and those of other communities which have brought forward redress issues) have quite deliberately and systematically attempted to dismiss and delay any resolution of the Ukrainian-Canadian case. They have reacted only when community-based initiatives have forced their hand (as testified to by many articles found in this collection) or when, in the weeks just before the fall 1988 and fall 1993 federal elections, their political masters felt some need to placate a Ukrainian-Canadian constituency numbering over one million people. Otherwise the Ukrainian-Canadian redress issue has all but been ignored. Ottawa has used what might be referred to as a "wait and hope they go away" strategy, in no way different from the one earlier deployed against the NJAC.

I have been priveleged to know two people who were unjustly imprisoned during these internment operations. One, the late Mr. Nikola Sakaliuk, came to Canada as a young man, from Bukovyna, in 1912. Between 1914 and 1917 he was held in Fort Henry (Prisoner #875) near Kingston, and later at the Petawawa and Kapuskasing internment camps (Prisoner #2315). The other, Mrs. Mary Manko Haskett, was born in Montreal. She was imprisoned with other members of her family in the Spirit Lake camp, near what is today known as the town of La Femme, Quebec. She is the last known survivor of the internment operations. In speaking with Mr. Sakaliuk and Mrs. Haskett I was struck by the fact that neither of them was particularly bitter about what had been done to them, no matter how wronged they had been. Instead, all they asked is that we remember their experience, their sufferings.

I do not think their entreaty is extravagant, nor do I believe other Canadians will. And so, this collection is humbly dedicated to Mr. Sakaliuk and Mrs. Haskett, and to all the other innocents who suffered along with them during Canada's first national internment operations, eighty years ago.

Lubomyr Luciuk, PhD
Director of Research
Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Barbed Wire

Editorial Notes

The newspaper articles, letters to the editor, editorials and government documents reproduced here have not been altered, aside from the correction of a few spelling and typographical errors. Archival photographs have been included to provide readers with a visual impression of Canadian internment operations between 1914-1920.

Just before this book went to print, Canada's national television network, the CBC, refused to show Montreal film-maker Yurij Luhovy's documentary on the internment operations, Freedom Had a Price, which Alan Kellogg, film critic for the Edmonton Journal has described as a "powerful piece of work", (22 June 1994). That decision precipitated a nation-wide protest, co-ordinated by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Whether the CBC will reverse its decision remains to be seen. On a more positive note, the leader of the Reform Party of Canada, Mr. Preston Manning, MP, wrote to the Prime Minister endorsing the Association's redress position and another survivor of the Spirit Lake camp, Stephanie (Mielniczuk) Pawliw, a Montreal-born infant of 15 months when she was interned, has come forward, adding to our store of personal recollections about Canada's first national internment operations. Articles about these developments are included and have been indexed but, for technical reasons, appear in an Addendum to this book.

LYL, Kingston, 1 July 1994

Barbed Wire


[1] The Other Shame: Do the more than 8,000 so-called enemy aliens interned during the First World War deserve an apology?
[2] Apology to Ukrainian Canadians Urged
[3] How Ukrainians were exiled to Quebec gulag
[4] Set a good precedent
[5] Out of War Measures

[6] First World War Measures
[7] Ukrainian-Canadians seeking redress
[8] Ukrainian group seeks wartime redress
[9] Ukrainian Canadians waiting for redress
[10] One for all, all for one

[11] Two ethnic groups say emergencies act would abuse rights
[12] Ukrainians, Japanese deserve redress
[13] Ukrainian leaders accuse minister of ignoring past
[14] Pact sets precedent, Ukrainian group says
[15] Compensation queue

[16] Ukrainians
[17] Wartime compensation
[18] First World War internees can be compensated without remaking history
[19] "Enemy aliens" remember: Ukrainian-Canadians pry open internment files
[20] Wartime internment of Ukrainians ignored British advice, papers say

[21] Ukrainian Canadians consult with minister
[22] Après les Japonais, 5,000 Ukrainiens exigent des compensations
[23] Claiming Compensation
[24] Time to acknowledge wrongs done to Ukrainian Canadians
[25] Lining up for compensation

[26] And who says time heals all?
[27] Ukrainian Canadians present demands
[28] Apology, research funds sought: Ukrainians delay internee redress bid
[29] Ukrainian-Canadian lobby for redress opposed
[30] Post no bills

[31] Confiscation
[32] Disservice
[33] Insulting
[34] Seizures
[35] No parallel

[36] Claim deserves more coverage
[37] Ukrainian camps 'lost to history'
[38] What Form of Redress
[39] Repetition of violations can be avoided
[40] Ukrainians want acknowledgement of injustice

[41] A time for atonement in Canada
[42] Re: internment of Ukrainian Canadians
[43] About excuses for internment
[44] Internment was unjustified act
[45] Disagrees with Martynowich

[46] Cries of pain still echo in the Rockies
[47] Simple admission of wrongdoing all Ukrainians want
[48] Ukrainian internment claim "won't go away", backers say
[49] It's Time For a Weiner Roast
[50] The trouble with trying to compensate groups for historical wrongs

[51] Ukrainian sadness
[52] Redress Now!
[53] Ukrainians "betrayed" in wartime camp
[54] Little Basis for Redress of Long Past Injustices
[55] The forgotten story of a Canadian gulag

[56] Ukrainian Canadians seek redress: Bid for apology launched at meeting with PM
[57] Another overdue apology
[58] Keep grievances seperate
[59] Ukrainians remember ancestors imprisoned at Fort Henry
[60] Haunted by history: Ukrainians, Italians and Chinese seek redress for historical ill-treatment by Ottawa

[61] Home front will test Canada's tolerance
[62] Support for tolerance and dissent
[63] Good guys
[64] House approves Ukrainian motion
[65] Milliken helped bring to light a dark episode of Canadian history

[66] Give credit where it's due
[67] Injustice beneath the grass of Banff
[68] Government dallies over Ukrainian redress
[69] A modest price for justice
[70] Civil liberties body remains much-needed

[71] UCC attempt to disband Civil Liberties Commission raises hackles
[72] Luciuk sets the record straight
[73] Waiting, and hoping for redress
[74] Offering redress a moral issue
[75] Ukrainians seek Ottawa redress for internment

[76] Ukrainian Canadians press Ottawa to acknowledge past injustice
[77] Edwards urges recognition of injustice meted to Ukrainians: Activists blast Charest refusal
[78] Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way! How and why the Civil Liberties Commission became the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association
[79] Charest should back down on Ukrainian request
[80] Ukrainian-Canadian internment will be recognized -- Charest

[81] Alienating Ukrainians
[82] Cabinet should do what's right in Ukrainian-Canadian claim
[83] Author blasts Charest for Ukrainian waffling
[84] Acknowledgement sought for wrongs done by Ottawa
[85] More history, less dope

[86] Report details Ukrainian Canadian losses during internment
[87] Ukrainian leaders back redress effort in Canada
[88] Injustice Ignored: For Ukrainian Canadians it's too late for redress but not for acknowledgement
[89] Stewards of a stalwart culture
[90] Internment Survivor writes Mulrooney

[91] Do the right thing
[92] Redress for internees
[93] Atonement for the Past
[94] The Price of Freedom
[95] Righting Historical Wrongs

[96] Redress Committee gives Canadian government last chance
[97] A plea from the last survivor of internment camps
[98] Un appel de la dernière survivante des camps d'internement

Government of Canada: House of Commons and The Senate of Canada

[99] Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Standing Committee on Multiculturalism, 7-8 December 1987, Toronto, Ontario

[100] Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-77, An Act to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to ammend other Acts in consequence thereof, 15 March 1988, Ottawa

[101] House of Commons Debates, Official Report (Hansard), Volume 131, #202, 2nd Session, 34th Parliament, 7 June 1990, Mr. Joe Fontana (London East), "Ukrainian Canadians"

[102] House of Commons Debates, Official Report (Hansard), 12 June 1990, Ms. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon), "Ukrainian Canadians"

[103] Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, 22 January 1991, Third and last Proceedings on: Bill C-63, An Act to establish the Canadian Race Relations Foundation

[104] House of Common Debates, Private Member's Business, Volume 132, #37, 3rd Session, 34th Parliament, 27 September 1991, Mr. Peter Milliken (Kingston and the Islands), "Ukrainian Canadians: Redress for Internment".


[105] Afterword: Mary Manko Haskett, Survivor, Spirit Lake Internment Camp


[106] CBC rejects documentary on internment of Ukrainians
[107] Manning backs quick resolution of Ukrainian-Canadian grievance
[108] The dark side of Kingston's past

Barbed Wire

ThumbNail Image  

Sculptor John Boxtel's preliminary sketch for a commemorative marker at the Castle Mountain internment camp, in Banff National Park. (22 June 1994)

Barbed Wire


The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association is a non-partisan, non-profit and educational organization mandated by the Ukrainian-Canadian community to negotiate an acknowledgement and redress agreement with the Government of Canada. We thank the following individuals, publishers, and newspapers for permission to reprint the articles, editorials, letters to the editor, photographs and other materials found in this collection: Alberta Report, Canadian Speeches: Issues of the Day, Calgary Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, The Calgary Herald, The Canadian Press, Mr. Arthur Drache, QC, The Financial Post, The Gazette, The Gazette (University of Western Ontario), The Glenbow Museum and Archives (Calgary), The Globe and Mail, The Edmonton Journal, Professor Bohdan Kordan, La Presse, Leonard Leshuk, The Limestone Press, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, Mr. Yurij Luhovy, Matrix, Montreal Daily News, the Ron Morel Memorial Museum (Kapuskasing), Professor Desmond Morton, the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, the National Archives of Canada, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, Fran Ponomarenko, Public Record Office, The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, Star-Phoenix, Studnetz, The Toronto Star Syndicate, Ukrainian Echo, The Ukrainian Canadian, The Ukrainian Weekly, The Vancouver Sun, The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff), The Whig-Standard, The Windsor Star and The Winnipeg Free Press.

Barbed Wire

National Redress Council

Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Barbed Wire


Icon Index to Righting An Injustice

Barbed Wire

Select Bibliography

Barbed Wire

Publication Details

Copyright © 1994, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Copyright © 1994, Lubomyr Y. Luciuk

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data

Righting an Injustice: the debate over redress for Canada's first national internment operations.

Includes index.
ISBN 0-9692518-8-2

1. World War, 1914-1918 -- Evacuation of civilians -- Canada. 2. World War, 1914-1918 -- Concentration camps -- Canada. 3. World War, 1914-18 -- Reparations. 4. World War, 1914-1918 -- Ukrainian Canadians.* I. Luciuk, Lubomyr Y., 1953- II. Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

D627.C2R5 1994 940.3'1771 C94-930668-1

Graphic Design by Amanda Anderson.
Archival Research by Alexandra Chyczij, Bohdan Kordan, Leonard Leshuk, Yurij Luhovy and Peter Melnycky.
Typing by Peggy Dartt

Cover Illustration: Internees under guard at Kapuskasing internment camp circa 1917. Photo courtesy of the Ron Morel Memorial Museum, Kapuskasing, Ontario.

Published by The Justinian Press, 28 Riverview Gardens, Toronto, Canada, M6S 4E5.

Barbed Wire

Also available from The Justinian Press

In association with The Kashtan Press

In association with The Limestone Press

Barbed Wire

Local Links:

Icon Return to Internment of Ukrainians in Canada 1914-1920 Page
Icon Return to Ukrainian History Page
Icon Return to InfoUkes Home Page

Document Information

Document URL:

Copyright © 1994 Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Copyright © 1994 Lubomyr Luciuk

We acknowledge the help in the preparation of this document by Amanda Anderson

Page layout, design, integration, and maintenance by G.W. Kokodyniak and V. Pawlowsky

Copyright © 1996-1997 InfoUkes Inc.


since Mar 1 1997
InfoUkes Inc.
Suite 185, 3044 Bloor Street West
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada M8X 2Y8
Tel: (416) 236-4865 Fax: (416) 766-5704

Originally Composed: Monday September 16th 1996.
Date last modified: Thursday October 30th 1997.