A Ukrainian-Canadian group seeking redress for Canada's First World War internment of 5,000 Ukrainian Canadians has received support from two political leaders in Ukraine.
Vitaliy Zhuravsky, president of the Christian-Democratic Party of Ukraine, and Vyacheslav Chornovil, chairman of Rukh, a broad-based national coalition, have written Prime Minister Brian Mulroney asking him to "do what is right and honourable" in settling the redress issue before he leaves office.
A copy of the letter was sent to the redress council of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has been pressing the federal government to acknowledge that the internment of men, women and children was an injustice.
In March, the redress council and Mary (Manko) Haskett, 84, the last known survivor of the internment, met parliamentarians to ask for an acknowledgment while at least one survivor was still alive to hear it.
Mrs. Haskett, who was born in Canada, was sent at the age of six with her family to a camp in the Quebec bush, one of 5,000 Ukrainians who were rounded up primarily because they came from parts of Ukraine controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was at war with the Allies.
In their letter, Mr. Zhuravsky and Mr. Chornovil say democratic forces in Ukraine want to thank Mr. Mulroney for the role Canada played in helping Ukraine secure its freedom and recognition.
"We understand that your government has been considering "how best to acknowledge that what happened to them was unwarranted," the letter said.
The two say they are sending the letter to support "our compatriots' claim" in order to demonstrate "the same sort of solidarity with their cause as they showed during the years of our captivity."
Lubomyr Luciuk, a researcher with the redress council, said he has been told by federal officials that the issue of redress has been before the federal cabinet for some months.
He said the letter represents a difference from the case of the Japanese Canadians who were granted an apology by Canada for their Second World War internment, or the case of the Chinese Canadians who are seeking redress for the imposition of a head tax on immigrants during the early part of this century.
In those cases there were no representations made to the Canadian government by Japanese politicians or from the Chinese government, he said.
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Document URL: http://www.infoukes.com/history/internment/booklet02/doc-087.html
Copyright © 1994 Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Copyright © 1994 Lubomyr Luciuk
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Originally Composed: Wednesday December 4th 1996.
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