TORONTO, August 25, 2005 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is pleased that the Government of Canada has reached an agreement-in-principle with the Ukrainian Canadian community to acknowledge and commemorate the bitter experiences of members of that community with the implementation of the War Measures Act during World War I, but is disappointed that there was no formal apology on behalf of Canadians to their fellow Canadians.
"The agreement, once it is completed and executed, will go a long way in amending historical facts that have been omitted or glossed-over, and cast a shadow over the contributions of Canadians of Ukrainian descent," observed Paul Winn, Vice Chair of the CRRF. "We respect the community's wish not to pursue compensation for the victims, but we certainly would have liked to see an apology. This has been a painful memory for this community."
During the First World War, large numbers of Europeans, primarily Ukrainians, were sent to internment camps or had their civil liberties curtailed and properties seized.
Earlier this year, the CRRF, a product of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, adopted a policy of supporting communities which are seeking redress and reparations for past wrongs. Among the many communities which are seeking redress and reparations are: Chinese Canadians, for the Head Tax and Exclusion Acts; the Italian Canadians who were also interned during the war; Aboriginal peoples for the forced assimilation in residential schools and people of African descent for slavery and unjust treatment of Blacks from the Caribbean.
"Clearly, $25 million, the amount the government's set aside for this program, does not even approach the damage done to these communities and, in this case, the Ukrainian Canadian community. However, we will await the details of the agreement itself to see how it is implemented," added Winn.