Internees at Christmas-time, 1916 (Photo courtesy of A. Blicq)
Two years ago I was part of the Ukrainian-Canadian delegation that met with Gerry Weiner, the minister responsible for multiculturalism, to begin discussion about how the government of Canada might acknowledge that the First World War internment operations and related discriminatory measures taken against Ukrainian Canadians were unwarranted and unjust. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has now indicated that he is willing to consider this matter. This is heartening news.
However, I recall that Mr. Weiner also seemed attentive and ready to act on the Ukrainian-Canadian case in the weeks just before the last federal election but did nothing once the government settled comfortably into office again. For the moment I'll let my misgivings subside, in the hope that our prime minister is an honorable man committed to resolving expeditiously the Ukrainian-Canadian case of acknowledgment and redress.
But there can be no question of including the Ukrainian-Canadian community's case in some "sweeping statement of atonement for past Canadian government injustices." Each of the Canadian communities that have announced that they have legitimate historical grievances to air must be dealt with separately, as was done with our Japanese Canadians. Mixing the Ukrainian-Canadian case for acknowledgment and redress in with that of the Chinese Canadians, Italian Canadians and others is unacceptable. An apology to all is an apology to none.
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Document URL: http://www.infoukes.com/history/internment/booklet02/doc-058.html
Copyright © 1994 Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Copyright © 1994 Lubomyr Luciuk
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Originally Composed: Tuesday December 3rd 1996.
Date last modified: Thursday October 30th 1997.