Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Media Release
Ottawa, 14 February 2013
After decades of effort, spearheaded by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and its supporters, a redress settlement was reached between the Government and Canada and the Ukrainian Canadian community, in 2008, leading to the creation of a $10-million educational and commemorative endowment managed by the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. Simultaneously, Parks Canada was provided with the resources required to build a permanent exhibit about Canada’s first national internment operations, at Cave & Basin, in Banff National Park.
Located in the immediate vicinity of one of the two internment camps that existed in Banff from 14 July 1915 to 15 July 1917, this permanent display will provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about this still-little known episode in Canadian history while also hallowing the memory of those unjustly branded as “enemy aliens” and herded into 24 camps across Canada. This new exhibit will officially be opened on Thursday, 20 June 2013.
To increase public awareness about this event, UCCLA has begun mailing invitations postcards to internee descendants, Canadian parliamentarians, Senators, the media, and others who were involved with or interested in the redress campaign, inviting them to attend the opening day ceremonies.
Commenting, UCCLA’s chair, Roman Zakaluzny, said: “Having a pavilion dealing with Canada’s first national internment operations, in the historic heart of Canada’s most famous national park, and so close to the site of an actual camp where the internees were once held, is a remarkable achievement, one that came about only thanks to the dedication of many UCCLA volunteers and our friends, over almost a quarter of a century of effort.
When we began there were many naysayers and doubters, but the UCCLA team persevered, knowing that righting this historic injustice was the right thing to do. We thank the Government of Canada and Parks Canada, for working with us and other groups, to open this exhibit in June. By doing so, we will honour the wishes of the late Mary Manko Haskett. She was a Canadian-born internee. Mary never tired of reminding us about how important it was to remember what happened so that, perhaps, no other Canadian ethnic, religious or racial minority will ever again have to endure what Ukrainians and other Europeans did during this country’s first national internment operations, not because of any wrong they had done but only because of who they were, where they had come from.”
For more information on UCCLA and to see the card, please go to our website: www.uccla.ca.