Internment Compensation

May 21, 2001

Dr. L. Luciuk
Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Dear Dr. Luciuk,

Congratulations on the fine work that UCCLA and you are doing regarding the entire issue of Internment.

As you know, in this regard the UCPBF wrote to Minister Sheila Copps proposing a compensation strategy for the government's consideration. I append it for quick reference. I hope that in your discussions with appropriate channels, including the CBC, you will consider raising this approach as well.

As indicated to you previously, there were interested parties from the government seeking to find out what the Ukrainian diaspora's view is on redress compensation. Because of this interest UCPBF put forward for government's consideration a compensation strategy. We looked to UCCLA and UCC for input. Your President, John Gregorowich, wrote back a supportive letter; UCC did not respond.

The rationale for our position is simple: there is a global groundswell for righting wrongs; slave labour and unjust incarcerations are being compensated by governments and the private sector; our government's finances are quite robust at this time; seeking compensation would not be a great drag on the public purse. These are some of the reasons that persuaded us that asking for public programs for all Canadians at this juncture is the right way to go.

We hope that UCCLA might consider this point of view too. We applaud Mr. Inky Marks' efforts and have expressed support. However, it is important that our community which suffered the injustice not short-change itself at this time. There are many needs that a healthy injection of funds from the government would allow us to fill. They are spelled out in the letter to the Minister. Very briefly, it could buy access to broadcasting; allow us to explore more meaningful Canada Ukraine relations; educate Canadians in matters of diversity, justice and equity.

We did not specify the amount the community would be interested in obtaining. Instead, we proposed certain approaches and projects that would require an appropriate budget to be carried out effectively. We feel that would be the next step; to discuss the matter in a comprehensive manner, should the government accept our views.

With warm regards,

Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
National President
Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation