UCCLA to question inclusiveness of federal museum, memorial, and presence of KGB in Canada

Annual conclave participants map out the year ahead and take time to reflect on accomplishments

For immediate release (Ottawa): October 21, 2014

Meeting in conclave in Banff, Alta., on Oct. 19, members of the executive of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) discussed a wide range of projects it recently completed or will be moving forward with in the year ahead. After first noting the successes of Project CTO, which saw the simultaneous unveiling of 115 plaques across Canada recalling the internment operations of 1914-1920, the group noted the opening of the “Enemy Aliens” exhibit the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) helped curate at the Canadian War Museum. This exhibit will, it is hoped, travel to a number of cities across Canada during the next several years, bringing further attention to the experience of Ukrainians and other Europeans unjustly imprisoned and forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers during Canada’s first national internment operations.

The group also discussed steps that UCCLA needs to take to remove veterans of the KGB from Canada, proposed new fellowships providing support for students and others involved in the arts and legal fields, and began deliberations on hosting an international symposium regarding Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights controversy. Concerns about the lack of inclusiveness in hallowing the memory of all of the victims of Nazism at the Canadian national Holocaust memorial in Ottawa were also raised.

While in Banff, several members of UCCLA participated in a conference, “The Great War, Canada and the Internment of Enemy Aliens, 1914-1920,” sponsored by the Wirth Centre for Austrian and Central European Studies and the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies. Members also visited the new Parks Canada exhibit dealing with the internment operations at the Cave and Basin site, in Banff National Park, ending their conclave by agreeing to hold next year’s meeting in the Maritimes.

UCCLA’s chairman, Roman Zakaluzny, said: “We continue to be a project-driven and all-volunteer group, that has time and again demonstrated an ability to sustain initiatives we believe raise the profile of our community, nationally and internationally. We are looking forward in the next few years to working with several national museums not only to recall the internment operations and War Measures Act, but to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Cpl. Filip Konowal’s valour at the Battle of Hill 70, not only in Canada but in France, the UK, and Ukraine.

“Over the next 12 months in which Canadians will, of course, vote in a federal election, we shall continue to insist that all of the exhibits in the taxpayer-funded Canadian Museum for Human Rights be revised so that they become comparative, thematic, and inclusive. We plan to help stage a major international conference on why that is both appropriate and essential if this national museum is to have genuine pedagogical importance. Finally, we remain committed to ensuring that no veterans of the Soviet secret police remain in this country – the fact that some do, to this day, is a travesty of justice and an affront to the memory of the many millions who fell victim to Communism as well as their descendants, of whom millions live in Canada.”

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (L'Association ukrainienne-canadienne des droits civils) is a non-partisan, voluntary, non-profit research and educational organization committed to the articulation and promotion of the Ukrainian Canadian community's interests and to the defence of the civil liberties and human rights of Ukrainians in Canada and elsewhere.

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