Barbed Wire

Internment Survivor writes Mulroney

May 1993

Barbed Wire

The following is the text of the letter 84 year old Mary (Manko) Haskett wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Mrs. Haskett is believed to be the sole survivor of the internment camps which were run by the Canadian government during WWI. Mrs. Haskett travelled to Ottawa in late March in an attempt to get the Canadian Parliament to publicly acknowledge the injustice. Mulroney, who has twice promised to deal with the internment issue couldn't find the time to meet with her. The letter is dated March 29, 1993.

I was 6 when I was interned, along with my parents, Andrew and Katherine, my brother John, and my sisters Anne and Carolka. She was only two and a half years old when she died at the Spirit Lake internment camp in Quebec.

I may be the last survivor of Canada's first national internment operations. What happened to our family, to many of our friends from Montreal's Ukrainian-Canadian community, and to my sister Carolka, can never be undone. It was unwarranted. It was unjust.

But I believe that you, Mr. Prime Minister, have a unique and historic opportunity to show understanding and compassion for those who fell victim. Before you leave office I appeal to you to honour the Ukrainian-Canadian community's request for acknowledgement and redress. I do this on behalf of my parents, for those many thousands of others who can no longer speak, for my sister Carolka. Our community, all of us, suffered a national humiliation. Few Canadians, even today, realize how traumatic and damaging those internment operations were. My own children did not believe me when I told them I had been interned in Canada. Spirit Lake is no longer shown in any atlas. Canadian history books do not mention how thousands of Ukrainians were interned, disenfranchised and otherwise mistreated in this country between 1914-1920. Until recently, I did not even know where Carolka was buried.

I believe you can appreciate how important it is for me to have this injustice dealt with in my lifetime. I hope you will take my appeal to heart and do what is right and just.

Mary (Manko) Haskett

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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

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

Copyright © 1996-1997 InfoUkes Inc.


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Originally Composed: Wednesday December 4th 1996.
Date last modified: Thursday October 30th 1997.