Ukrainian Weekly, 31 August 2014

The CTO project
Something extraordinary happened in Canada on Monday, August 22. On that day, progressing from east to west, at exactly 11 a.m. local time, 100 plaques were unveiled in various public venues – from Amherst, Nova Scotia, to Nanaimo, British Columbia (both sites of first world war-era internment camps) – to mark the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920 and the 100th anniversary of the War Measures Act.
Called Project “CTO,” this “wave of remembrance,” as the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation described it, recalled the heinous government operation that labeled more than 80,000 immigrants to Canada as “enemy aliens” and interned some 8,500 in 24 camps throughout the country. Why were they considered “enemy aliens”? Simply because of where they came from and, therefore, the twisted thinking went, could be suspected of allegiance with the enemy. There was no evidence, no due process afforded these immigrants. The majority were Ukrainians who hailed from the Austro-Hungarian crownlands of Halychyna and Bukovyna. Others were of German, Hungarian, Serbian, Croatian and Armenian descent.
The project to commemorate the internment operations and its victims – the brainchild of Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, professor of political geography at the Royal Military College of Canada – aims to educate the people of Canada about a little-known episode of their history. Indeed, as Dr. Luciuk, who heads the CTO project, told The Weekly in an interview published on August 17, he himself first learned of the internment operations in 1978, while doing research for his master’s degree. Many of the internees’ family members were not even aware of the grave injustice done to their kin. Not odd, given that the Canadian government at first denied that such operations had taken place.
Dr. Luciuk went on to write a book about those operations, and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, of which he is a leading member, pressed the campaign for recognition and redress for this historic wrong. It took many years of effort, but the campaign finally succeeded with the establishment in 2008 of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, which was endowed with $10 million from the federal government. But it was never about money or compensation to those once tarred as “enemy aliens” and their families – only about memory. Mary Manko Haskett, one of the victims, underscored that all she wanted was for Canadians to remember what had happened. “Remember. Learn. Never forget them…” – that’s the theme of the CTO project.
In Toronto alone, home to a huge Ukrainian community, there are 10 venues where the bilingual – English and French – plaques were unveiled on August 22. One of them, as correspondent Oksana Zakydalsky reports, was installed in the headquarters of the city’s branch of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization. Thanks to the CTO project, new generations of Canadians throughout the land will be informed and will perpetuate the memory of those who came before them.
Also on August 22, Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement “in remembrance of those interned in Canada during the first world war,” which read, in part: “Governments have a solemn duty to defend against legitimate threats in wartime, but we look back with deep regret on an unjust policy that was implemented indiscriminately as a form of collective punishment and in violation of fundamental principles of natural justice, including the presumption of innocence. In Canada we acknowledge the mistakes of the past, and we learn from them. We are also steadfast in our commitment to remembering those who suffered. …let us also remember to celebrate the achievements of the internees and their descendants, who overcame this hardship and contributed so much to the building of our country as loyal and dedicated citizens.” 

An Open Letter to Mr. Stuart Murray, CEO, Canadian Museum for Human Rights

An Open Letter from Concerned Canadians
15 September 2014
Mr. Stuart Murray, CEO
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Victory Building
269 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 1B3

Re:   Recalling Canada’s First National Internment Operations, 1914 to 1920

Dear Mr. Murray,
We, the undersigned, are profoundly dismayed by the lack of a meaningful
portrayal of Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914 to 1920 at the
Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).

We will be asking our affected communities to refrain from partaking in the
opening ceremonies or any subsequent activities at the CMHR until this matter is
resolved fairly.

While we welcome the development of a national museum outside the capital
region, it is regrettable that the CMHR’s  exhibits were developed without
sufficient attention being given to key Canadian stories. An enlarged photograph
and one short film clip buried in a documentary film does not, in our view,
constitute an acceptable treatment of Canada’s first national internment

If your goal is to have a truly inclusive national museum then you must reflect the
nation’s multicultural history. The insignificant attention given to First World War
era internment operations represents a slight to all of the internees, enemy aliens
and their descendants, including Canadians of Ukrainian, Hungarian, Croatian,
German, Austrian, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Serbian, Slovene, Bulgarian, and other

Quite recently, the Honourable Jason Kenney, commenting on the 100th
anniversary of the War Measures Act and the start of Canada’s first national
internment operations observed: “the Government of Canada is committed to
recognizing and educating Canadians about the experiences of those pioneers
who overcame such heavy burdens. Their experiences mark an unfortunate
period in our nation’s history. We must ensure that they are never forgotten.”
We fail to understand why the CMHR has largely ignored a profoundly Canadian
story in a national museum dedicated to human rights.

We, the undersigned, represent many of the affected communities and internee
descendants, as represented by organizations like the Ukrainian Canadian
Foundation of Taras Shevchenko; Ukrainian Canadian Congress; Ukrainian
Canadian Civil Liberties Association; Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce;
German-Canadian Congress; Canadian Polish Congress; and Internee
Descendants among others.

We are making our views publicly known, and in advance of the CMHR’s
opening, so there is no confusion: the CMHR does not enjoy the endorsement or
support of our communities. Furthermore, we do not believe that the limited
consultations held with stakeholder communities about the contents of this
museum were given serious attention.
Yours truly,

Andrew Hladyshevsky
President of the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko

Olya Grod
Ukrainian Canadian Congress

Roman Zakaluzny
Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Borys Sydoruk
Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation

John Marion, President
Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce

Ludwik Klimkowski
Canadian Polish Congress

Sima Aprahamian
Armenian Community

Suleyman Guven
Kurdish/ Alevi Community

Antony Bergmeier
German-Canadian Congress, National President

Diane Dragasevich
Serbian National Shield Society of Canada

Jerry B Bayrak
Descentants of Ukrainian Canadian Internee Victims Association

Marsha Skrypuch
Internee Descendant

Christopher Adam
Editor-in-chief, Kanadai Magyar Hirlap (Canadian Hungarian Journal)

Grande Prairie AB plaque unveiling

On Friday Robert Steven (left), culture and heritage manager with the City of Grande Prairie and Chris Warkentin, MP for the Peace Country, unveiled a plaque recognizing the passing of 100 years since Canada utilized the War Measures Act to intern persons of Ukrainian and German decent. The plaque is displayed in Grande Prairie Museum’s Heritage Village. Laura Booth/Daily Herald-Tribune

Oshawa plaque unveiling

Commemorating 100th anniversary of Canada’s internment operations

Celia Klemenz / Metroland

OSHAWA — Oshawa Mayor John Henry, left, and Walter Kish, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Oshawa Branch, unveiled a plaque at Oshawa City Hall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Canada’s internment operations. Durham MP Erin O’Toole looked on. The operations saw 8,000 Ukrainian and other European Canadians kept in 24 camps between 1914 and 1920 across Canada under the 1917 War Time Elections Act. The plaque was one of 100 unveiled across Canada on this date. August 22, 2014