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Milliken helped bring to light a dark episode of Canadian history

The Whig-Standard
4 October 1991

Barbed Wire

Re the article "House approves Ukrainian motion ," written by Murray Hogben, that appeared in The Whig Standard on Sept. 28.

Several years ago, a group of Canadian Ukrainians began an educational campaign that had two goals. One was to inform their fellow citizens about Canada's first national internment operations of 1914-20. The other was to secure a federal government acknowledgement that these measures were unwarranted, unjust and had long-term, traumatic consequences on the Ukrainian-Canadian community. Their efforts have yet to secure a formal acknowledgement, but at least now many more Canadians are aware of this unhappy episode in our nation's history.

Much of the progress has been made possible thanks to the fine work of our local Member of Parliament, Peter Milliken. Representing the riding in which Fort Henry, Canada's first concentration camp - and a place where many innocent "enemy aliens" were imprisoned alongside actual German and Austrian prisoners of war during the First World War - is located, Mr. Milliken took an early interest in this case. He has since represented the case before Parliament in a measured and thoughtful manner.

He deserves proper recognition and support for his efforts, from all Kingstonians and Canadians everywhere, regardless of their political affiliations. Unless we recall the darker episodes in Canadian history, particularly those like the rarely remembered internment and disenfranchisement of Ukrainian Canadians during the First World War, it is very likely that in future some other ethnic, religious, racial or cultural minority will suffer as did Canada's Ukrainians.

Now that the House of Commons has unanimously approved his call for acknowledgement and redress, we hope the government will follow through on Mr. Milliken's recommendations without further delay.

Alexandra Chyczij

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Copyright © 1994 Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Copyright © 1994 Lubomyr Luciuk

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

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Originally Composed: Tuesday December 3rd 1996.
Date last modified: Thursday October 30th 1997.