My research on Canada's first world war internment operations and their impact on the Ukrainian-Canadian community began in 1977. I initiated the Ukrainian-Canadian community's campaign for acknowledgement and redress while director of research for the Civil Liberties Commission. That formal CLC redress campaign began in 1985.
As a result of the CLC's efforts, Minister for Multiculturalism Gerry Weiner promised that the community's claims would be dealt with "expeditiously." That was in 1988. In 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney publicly announced the Ukrainian-Canadian community's case would be dealt with in the very near future. It was not.
In October, at the 17th UCC Congress, the prime minister repeated this promise. He did so in spite of the fact that when the UCC's national executive was approached by the Prime Minister's Office, and asked if the prime minister should make a major statement on this matter, they voted overwhelmingly that he should not!
Ihor Bardyn's involvement in the redress campaign is of a recent vintage. He was appointed as chairman of the CLC's redress committee in April 1990, by the CLC chairman, John Gregorovich. Perhaps that is why he seems unaware of the history of our efforts. Of course, Mr. Bardyn is correct in observing that the prime minister has been "consistent in stating that his government will address the request for acknowledgement and redress." This government has indeed been consistent in not really doing very much on redress for nearly five years.
Despite that frustrating record, common sense, perseverance, good judgement and a commitment to the community's best interests have all characterized the ongoing work of the Civil Liberties Commission. Unfortunately, the UCC's national executive does not share those qualities, nor does it have any such record of achievement. That may explain why the UCC recently attempted to disband the CLC.
Even though the national executive does not have the authority to disband a body they did not create, and so are not likely to succeed, this ill-considered move has sown some confusion in the minds of the government and media and within the Ukrainian-Canadian community about who is in charge of the redress campaign and who represents the voice of the community. There can be no doubt. The Civil Liberties Commission is the only group which has a consistent track record of effectively representing the interests of the Ukrainian-Canadian community on the issue of acknowledgement and redress.
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Document URL: http://www.infoukes.com/history/internment/booklet02/doc-070.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.