Sheila Copps | Oct. 06, 2002 | Eugene Harasymiw
Ukrainian Internment and National Parks

From: Eugene Harasymiw [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday, October 06, 2002 4:11 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: National Parks announcement

Dear Ms. Copps:

This past week's announcement by your government that it plans to establish 10 new national parks (that's a refreshing change from "perks") plus 5 new marine conservation areas was accompanied by Mr. Chretien's claim that the projects would not cost a great deal. He also mentioned that mostly aboriginal labor would be used to develop these parks which, he claimed, Canadians passionately want.

Strange how Mr. Chretien's "passion" for parks is not matched by a similar passion for justice. Despite exhibiting a flash of such passion in June of 1993, when he made a pledge he would ensure that the unjust internment of Ukrainians (1914-20) would be redressed if he was Prime Minister, nothing ever came of that promise.

So, what better way could there have been than to have admitted that, in actual fact, at least one of this country's premier national parks was really built by slave labor? Slave labor provided by Ukrainians and other East Europeans who were unceremoniously ripped from their families and forced to perform work in concentration camps across Canada, including the development of Banff National Park and its upscale lush golf course (Mr. Chretien having a penchant for upscale golf courses and the funding arrangements that surround them).

Since you are in the inner circle of Cabinet, perhaps you could remind Mr. Chretien of this broken -- or was it neglected? or was it deceitful? -- promise made 9 years ago. The memory of past humiliations, suffered by people who are not here to bear witness to them, is now borne by the present generation -- a generation that is not about to forget or forgive. Not now, not ever.

Eugene Harasymiw, LL.B.
Civil Liberties Standing Committee
Alberta Ukrainian Self-Reliance League
10611 - 110 Ave.
Edmonton, AB T5H 1H7