UKRAINIAN GROUP COMMEMORATES MONTREAL INTERNMENT SITE
For immediate release (Montreal, Ottawa)
4 October 2010
On the 40th anniversary of The War Measures Act being deployed during the "Quebec Crisis," the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) held a brief but poignant memorial service at City Hall in Montreal, near a site where almost a 100 years earlier the War Measures Act was first used during Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-20. In September 1914 Montreal’s federal Immigration Building served as a receiving station, processing dozens of Ukrainians and other Europeans branded as “enemy aliens.” To this day no plaque nor memorial recalls that unhappy moment in Quebec and Canadian history.
Members of the UCCLA are planning a memorial at or near this site at Montreal’s City Hall to commemorate an internment receiving station that existed nearby during the First World War.
“Three times the Government of Canada has made use of martial law in this country,” said Roman Zakaluzny, newly elected chair of the UCCLA. “We purposely picked Quebec as the site of this year’s annual conclave in order to recall Canada’s first national internment operations and to remind all Canadians that civil liberties and personal freedoms should never be taken for granted.”
With the assistance of Father Ihor Oshchipko, UCCLA and its supporters held a brief prayer service near Montreal’s City Hall not far from where the Immigration Building once stood on rue Saint-Antoine. The UCCLA hopes to work in conjunction with the City and other stakeholders to ensure that a trilingual memorial plaque is erected on City property before 2012. Twenty-one other internment camp sites across the country have already been so distinguished.
In addition, the UCCLA during its Oct. 1-3 conclave extended its support for the 10 December 2010 opening of an interpretive centre at La Ferme, Que., (formerly known as Spirit Lake). That was the site of one of the largest WWI concentration camps, housing men as well as women and children sent far north into the Abitibi region and there forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers. Supported by UCCLA, the Spirit Lake Camp Corporation has spearheaded fundraising for this new centre and has secured major funding from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
As well, the UCCLA:
– will move ahead with plans to secure a proper Christian burial for the remains of two internees, Messrs Bahriy and Konyk, in a Ukrainian Catholic cemetery in southwestern Ontario;
– intends to play an active role in a content advisory capacity as Parks Canada works toward the development of a major internment museum at Cave and Basin in Banff National Park;
– will help collect archival materials having to do with the Ukrainian Canadian redress campaign, working to help ensure that they are then deposited in the Queen’s University Archives and made available to researchers;
– will actively work to ensure that Conservative MP, Tim Uppal’s Bill C-442, “An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument (National Holocaust Monument Act),” will be inclusive and include references to all victims of the Holocaust, regardless of ethnicity or faith;
– approved funding for the production of a professional informational commercial to combat Ukrainophobia in the Greater Toronto Area;
– initiated a national postcard campaign aimed at convincing the Conservative Government of the Right Honorable Stephen Harper to enforce Canadian immigration laws by acting to remove all veterans of the Soviet secret police, the NKVD/KGB, from Canada; and,
– selected Saskatoon as the site for its next annual conclave, to be held in October 2011.
Concurrently meeting in Montreal, the executive of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, an educational and charitable group, (http://www.ucclf.ca and #ucclf) briefed UCCLA delegates about their scholarship programs and donation toward the construction of the Maple Leaf / Klenovi Lyst Safe House in Ukraine providing sanctuary for orphans, children at risk and women escaping the evils of trafficking.
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For more information or an interview, please contact Roman Zakaluzny, chairman the UCCLA, at email@example.com.
Hear about the UCCLA’s conclave on Ukrainian Time radio in Montreal:
Ukrainian Time Oct. 2, 2010 show. The portion on the UCCLA begins at the 23:47 mark, in Ukrainian. The first English-language portion begins at 25:09, then again at 31:50.