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Winnipeg Sun | 09Apr2012 | Ross Romaniuk
Campaign targets human
A Ukrainian-Canadian organization wants the public to speak up about a
lack of openness it says is a serious problem in the planning of
Winnipeg’s developing human rights museum.
The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) is using a
postcard campaign directed at federal Heritage Minister James Moore to
push its point that because the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is
publicly funded, it should be far more transparent in its goals for its
galleries -- and should not “elevate the suffering of any community
above all others.”
Lubomyr Luciuk, the UCCLA’s director of research, said on Monday that
no genocide -- including the Holocaust or the Holodomor famine in
Soviet Ukraine in the early 1930s, both of which killed millions of
people -- should stand out above other such crimes against humanity at
Canada’s first national museum outside the Ottawa area.
“No community’s suffering should be elevated above all others,” Luciuk
told the Winnipeg Sun from Kingston, Ont., where he lives and works as
a university professor.
An institution so heavily funded by the public purse, he said, must
equally focus on genocides such as those that devastated Rwanda,
Cambodia and other countries.
“We question whether any tax money should be given to promoting any
kind of prejudice,” Luciuk stressed, noting that the museum’s
escalating development price tag means “it’s costing more, and more and
more” with a projected total of $351 million.
The campaign by the organization -- which is not a member group of the
Ukrainian Canadian Congress -- uses a postcard-style mailout that
the sender opposes “additional federal funding for the CMHR.”
However, the Harper government has stated it won’t spend more on the
project than $100 million committed years ago for construction and
$21.7 million annually for operations.
Also including a photograph of Gail Asper, national campaign chairwoman
for the Friends of the CMHR holding a dirt-filled shovel at the
project’s sod-turning ceremony, the card says: “There’s been enough
shovelling and spreading.”
Staff in Moore’s ministerial office in Ottawa did not return a call for
Angela Cassie, spokeswoman for the museum project, said the
institution’s three goals are to “promote an understanding of human
rights issues; encourage dialogue and reflection; and inspire action.”
In an e-mail, she added that the CMHR “will work to capture Canada’s
unique human rights story” with galleries and programming that will
“lead our visitors into a deeper understanding of the ongoing struggle
to turn the vision of international human rights into a reality for