Category Archives: CMHR

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
operations.

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
origins.

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)