January 26, 2001

Mr. Eugene Czolij
Ukrainian Canadian Congress

Dear Mr. Czolij,

The purpose of this letter is to put forward on behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation some views on the issue of internment. These were first advanced about a year ago during a UCC Government Issues teleconference. As you will recall, I recently requested UCC's position on this matter; I have yet to receive it, although, I might add, the opportunity to advance it with influencial persons has been exercised without the benefit of UCC's views. You will agree, I'm sure, that the Ukrainian Canadian community deserves a most thoroughly considered approach, and one which needs to be presented to the Government of Canada to ensure proper consideration and closure.

The UCPBF acknowledges the initiative and commitment of UCCLA that took the lead in bringing this issue to the public's attention. I believe that our position reflects most of its views on the issue.


In addressing the injustice perpetrated on individuals of the Ukrainian Canadian community through internment and the confiscation of private property; and in order to set right its own record in this regard, the government of Canada might wish to consider a three-level approach to address the past wrongs.

The benefits of this approach will be a rapprochement with the Ukrainian community in Canada; a redress package that contributes to the better understanding of Canadian diversity and tolerance; and acknowledges, wherever possible, to the individuals involved or their descendents, the wrong-doings of the past.

Also, it will serve to remind the government and the rest of us that opportunities to commit injustice are not restricted to the past but are ever present and that in no way should today's political expediency perpetrate injustices for tomorrow's redress.

With such a focus in mind the government might wish to re-examine

  • the proposed citizenship legislation that undermines equal rights of all citizens by creating a two-tier class of Canadians those born in Canada and the naturalized; and
  • the denaturalization and deportation mechanism used to deal with alleged war criminals which appears to target a disproportionately high number of Eastern Europeans, thus raising fears of a premeditated witch hunt

    But to the point. The internment of Ukrainians in Canada redress strategy might comprise :

    1/ Compensation that will serve all Canadians

  • create and enhance Chairs of multiculturalism at post secondary levels
  • include internment study in appropriate high school curricula; history, civil societies, justice and human rights
  • develop educational products for the public including documentaries, exhibits, literature, national/international commemorative prize

    2/ Compensation that will serve Ukrainian Canadians

  • provide access to public broadcasting to gain a national foot-hold to connect the community from sea-to-sea
  • finance the promotion and enhancement of the Ukrainian language and culture; especially of the bi-lingual language programs
  • fund historic research and its dissemination into the seriousness of the contributions of the Ukrainians to Canada: in particular in such areas as agriculture, mining, sport, science, politics, the arts, etc.

    3/ Compensation that will serve the individual

  • provide the option to the survivors or their relatives to receive some compensation, or have it convert as a charitable contribution, to be matched by the government of Canada to the (yet to be established) Canadian Ukrainian Internment Foundation

    In order to see its decisions carried out, the government might wish to consider creating a foundation or trust to administer the funds and oversee the implementation of such a strategy.

    With warm regards,

    Oksana Bashuk Hepburn

    cc UCCLA