Internment of Persons of Ukrainian Origin Recognition Act

An Act to acknowledge that persons of Ukrainian origin were interned in Canada during the First World War and to provide for recognition of this event

This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.

Sponsor

Inky Mark  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2016 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise here today to continue debate on our free trade agreement with Ukraine and what will be happening next. I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Strathcona. I am looking forward to her comments.

I think this agreement shows the connections with Ukrainians that are so evident across this country. It will be symbolic in effect, given some of the Ukrainian cultural connections we have across Canada. Ukrainians have been coming to Canada and establishing settlements here in organized civil society for over 125 years. This was celebrated this past November in particular. There were Ukrainians here before then, but the marker for the community is 125 years ago. It is important to note the history of that settlement here as we move forward. It is important to note as well that there is a great connection today with the Ukrainian community over social justice in many respects, not only because of what they have faced in their home country but also here in Canada.

I would be remiss not to note that from 1914 to 1920 Ukrainians were interned in Canada under the War Measures Act by Prime Minister Borden of the Conservatives. It is something that was noted in the House of Commons with Bill C-331. Without getting too much into the details of the debate, the bill was the result of a Conservative, NDP, and Bloc effort to push this issue forward. Importantly, it encouraged us, as part of our solid foundation, to make restitution for injustices that have taken place. We saw support for making such restitution for past events become unanimous in the House. Even during World War II, up to 10 million Ukrainians suffered, either through forced labour or by being killed by the Nazi regime. Subsequently we have seen continual problems and challenges.

One of the things we can do as Canadians right now is to continue not to hide from the challenges that currently facing Ukraine from Russia, and how we can do things we can control and support. One of these things is entering into better, more mature, and value-added trade agreements that will be mutually beneficial. As New Democrats, we support that.

For example, in the past we have often seen trade agreements that have been reached for ideological reasons and for business at the expense of people. This agreement would truly be a better opportunity for people-to-people trade, especially since there are no investor-state provisions in it that would give an edge to the corporate element and brand. The trade that could happen among our people is significant.

I think of no less than St. Vladimir's church in my riding, where we have seen people involved with Ukrainian traditions and heritage. In fact, we had a memorial for the Holodomor established in a prominent park. I want to congratulate the entire community for doing this together. We did this before, as we have done for other monuments, most recently for the genocide in Srebrenica. The Holodomor itself is genocide that this House of Commons has recognized. It is recognized in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg as well. It is truly important because the survivors are no longer with us in the numbers they used to be, but the memories and the families live on, and the tradition that we have now of connecting that to our day-to-day actions is important.

The trade agreement that we are discussing today would improve trade relations in a number of different ways. The agreement really shows the strength of the Ukrainian contribution to our country when it was new and relied upon hard labour to make its mark in the world, and continues to do so in many respects.

The issues that we have on a number of different products and goods to be traded will dissipate as our tariff levels on trade are reduced. Tariff levels are in the 80s and 90s right now, so there would be a reduction of those by up to 99%, and in the high 80s, if not low 90s, for the reciprocal. It is close to getting together.

We have iron, steel, industrial machinery, beef, pork, pulses, canola oil, fish, and seafood. My riding has steel, machinery, and industrial development. The reason the strength continues is the mere fact that we have men and women who have contributed to the social development of a society here, which is very much in tune with our collectively working together to make a difference. In my riding, it was the creation of the unions in the sense that Canada, with the auto industry, really made a difference with the Rand formula. The contributions one can make and the work they have done over the years for social justice, equality, and a whole series of different things that benefit the workforce really came from a foundation of immigrants coming to Canada who have played a role in our country to get things done. Steel, industrial machinery, and equipment are part of that. Also, when we go out west and see the word “canola”, we remember the profound farming and agricultural footprint from this contribution. What makes us part of a whole as a country is the fact that this trade continues to happen in a much more robust way.

I mentioned that the agreement is more mature. That is because, for example, on labour, there are enforceable provisions in the bill, which are critical. Those enforceable provisions come to light when we look at the trading elements that are important to us as New Democrats. Labour and environment are privileged issues to many, but for us, they are about justice. When working on a trade agreement, we will focus on the beneficial aspects of those issues, because of the strength or benefit to both trading partners from the longevity of those benefits. It is not a matter of trading for a quick return at the other's expense, because after three or four years we do not see that element coming into play.

The Liberals and Conservatives brag about certain trade agreements they have set, but we have sold out some of our industries in them. Shame on our country for selling out the textile industry on two fronts. The first front is our jobs and our workers. The second front is allowing countries like Jordan to take advantage of poor people, who are almost forced into labour camps to do the jobs they stole from workers here who actually had provisions in their agreements that provided for benefits and safe working conditions. These may not have been the best of jobs, but they were working class jobs with a family heritage that could have provided for a future. We sold them out to places where they now use migrant labour. They use the country just like a storefront, or, as the Liberals might understand, a flag of convenience for corporations. It is a shortcut.

Hence, we have this agreement. I am proud to support it. I know that our member for Essex will be watching over this as it goes through committee. We will be looking at not only enhancing the trade provisions between Canada and Ukraine, but doing what I think it wants, which is looking at enhanced provisions that respect people, justice, the environment, and creating a relationship that is not about trying to be a winner or a loser through the entire process, but about creating a partnership that will be mutually beneficial for all of our citizens.

March 27th, 2007 / 9:05 a.m.
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Faytene Kryskow Director, Motivated Young People for a Strong Canada

Good morning, members, and thank you for your service to the nation on this extremely important committee. Your recommendations regarding Bill C-22 will impact future generations in Canada and in other nations that are looking to Canada for leadership on protecting children from sexual predators.

Last year, on the same day as a similar bill was voted on in Parliament, Bill C-331, Liberal member Pablo Rodriguez stated to the House that “a political party has a duty to listen and pay attention to what [youth] has to say.... They are in the best position to identify the problems and challenges facing them. ...when we in this House talk about building the Canada of tomorrow, we are talking about their future, and we ought to listen to them.”

With this wisdom in mind, I would like to let you know exactly who I represent. The recently incorporated MY Canada association already has a membership of multiple thousands of young people, primarily under the age of 30, with a few moms and dads in the mix. We served in several dozen campaigns in the last election, have mobilized hundreds of young people to meet their MPs, are observant CPAC junkies, and are committed to supporting, in practical ways, those members who will lay aside party politics to do good and sensible government. We span every province and territory and both nations in Canada. We are non-partisan, and yes, we vote.

Last summer, more than 12,000 Canadians—youths, young adults, and their parents and guardians—gathered on site at Parliament Hill and via webcast for a mass event called The Cry. We are told by political analysts that every person represents a thousand. If this is true, it's amazing to think that our first national gathering could very well represent 12 million Canadians.

Now that you know who we are, we want to point out that good and responsible government takes into account both the wishes and the well-being of its citizens. On this note, let me present to you feedback that comes both from our network and from average Canadian citizens, not special interest groups that are loaded with aggressive agendas.

In the last eight days, we posted a survey on our site regarding Bill C-22. We also canvassed the University of Ottawa and Carleton University to get a broader youth perspective than just that of our own network. In just eight days, we've had 931 surveys returned, with 94% saying they do not believe a 14-year-old has the maturity to choose an appropriate sexual partner; 92% saying they do not believe a 14-year-old would have the confidence to resist an adult who is pressuring or manipulating them to have sex against their will; and 90% saying they support Bill C-22 and believe the age of consent should be raised.

Some respondents who marked “No” on this last question did so because they believe it should be even higher. For example, they said they don't think it should be raised to 16 because they think it should be even higher, at 18. In some cases, it was even higher than that.

Many Canadians we talked to were both shocked and disturbed—never mind surprised—that the current age of consent is only 14. Consistently, we heard a plea from youths, who were in essence saying, please protect us.

Here are a few quotes from the youth comment section of our survey:

I am 15 years old going to 16 soon. I am older than everyone in my grade so we are just past the age of 14. I know for a fact that most of my grade is not mature enough to make a decision as big as this. I know I'm not mature even though I am told that I am very mature for my age. I don't want to see people getting hurt just because they can have sex—

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 7:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, let me dedicate my closing comments to Mary Manko Haskett, 97 years old and the last survivor of the internment.

Let me thank all the members who spoke in support of Bill C-331 this evening. I want to conclude by quoting three great Canadians of Ukrainian descent who appeared before the standing committee on October 25, 2005. I am sure that what members will hear will really reflect the position of the Ukrainian community across this country.

The first individual is Mr. Andrew Hladyshevsky, the president of the Canadian Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko. This is what he said before the committee:

This is truly a day of historic importance to over one million Canadians who have Ukrainian Canadian heritage. It is an astounding day for us. It's the kind of day when you watch what's happening with your throat because you're not sure exactly what the emotions will do to you by being here. Thank you for allowing us to present to you.

Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, director of research, Ukrainain Canadian Civil Liberties Association, a professor of history at the Royal Military College in Kingston said to the standing committee:

There they were forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers. What little wealth some of them had was confiscated, and a portion of it still remains in the federal treasury to this very day. They suffered restrictions on their freedom of movement, association, and free speech, and in 1917, even disenfranchisement.

Everything that was done to them took place not because of anything they had done but only because of who they were, where they had come from. No wonder, then, that Ukrainian Canadians were reported to still be “in fear of the barbed-wire fence” decades afterwards.

The last individual I will quote this evening is Mr. Paul Grod, the first vice-president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. This is what he said to the committee:

The reason we are here today, and the reason your time on this bill is so important today, is that this bill is part of the healing process. It is part of the acknowledgement and recognition that is so important to more than a million Ukrainian Canadians, and to the tens of millions of Canadians who know little to nothing about one of the greatest tragedies in Canadian history.

In closing, I ask that you seek unanimous consent of the House to have Bill C-331 carried at all stages.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 7:25 p.m.
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Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I too want to congratulate the member for his tremendous efforts.

As a country, we represent a coming together of many peoples and we have learned over time to respect and mutually accept each other. This is what sets Canada apart.

We have established a legal foundation, enshrined in our Constitution, that is aimed at ensuring Canadians are protected from racism and discrimination. We will continue to address these issues so that all Canadians have the opportunity to participate from their fullest potential. At the same time, we are working to strengthen the bonds of shared citizenship and to ensure the continuance of the strong and cohesive Canadian society that we have today.

The Government of Canada recognizes that there have been dark moments in the history of our country. We recognize that presenting our complete history, including those times when we have strayed from our shared commitment to human justice, and telling our stories is key to the understanding of who we are as Canadians.

Although legal at the time, the internment of Ukrainian Canadians and other Europeans during the first world war is one of those chapters about which Canadians are not proud. Our commitment as a government is to strengthen the fabric of Canada's multicultural society. We are committed to learning from the past and to acknowledging and commemorating the significant contributions to Canada made by the various ethno-racial and ethnocultural groups, including the Ukrainians.

The Department of Canadian Heritage and the cultural agencies of the Canadian Heritage portfolio have made considerable efforts to ensure the story of Ukrainians in Canada is known to all Canadians. Parks Canada works closely with national and local Ukrainian Canadian groups to develop interpretive exhibits in Banff National Park, Yoho National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park. These exhibits help visitors to understand the experiences, hardships and contributions of Ukrainian internees.

The Department of Canadian Heritage has also provided funding to Ukrainian Canadian organizations to assist in documenting the experience of Canadian Ukrainian internees and to underline the contribution of the Ukrainian community to our nation.

Since the 1890s, when waves of Ukrainians helped settle this vast land, Ukrainians have played an important role in Canada. There are an incredible number of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage who have made extraordinary contributions to Canada. They are, to name just a few: Wayne Gretzky, star of our national sport of hockey; Ed Werenich, a world champion in curling; in the cultural sphere, artist William Kurelek; violinist, Steven Staryk; in public life, Ray Hnatyshyn and Roy Romanow; and, Canada's first woman in space, Roberta Bondar.

To think of Ukrainian Canadians is also to recall Canada's war hero, Peter Dmytruk, who died for all of us on the battlefields of France in world war two.

As Canadians, we are proud to live in a country that recognizes the importance of diversity.

It is true that as a society, looking forward to the future can be difficult when troubling memories from Canada's past go unacknowledged. Budget 2005 also provides $25 million over the next three years for commemorative and educational initiatives that will highlight the contributions that Ukrainians and other ethnocultural groups have made to Canadian society and that will help build a better understanding of Canadians and of the strength of Canadian diversity.

With this funding, the government is responding to demands from the community in a way that respects both the concerns of the communities and the government's 1994 policy on this issue. Bill C-331 has been adapted to reflect this forward looking approach. On that basis, I encourage the hon. members in the House to vote in favour of Bill C-331 in its current form and to help celebrate the diversity of this great nation.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 7:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour today to rise in the House of Commons in a most historic moment. This is a moment when we are on the soon to be election trail, yet all sides of the House have agreed to the importance of Bill C-331.

I rise today to address this important and unfortunate chapter in Canadian history.

Bill C-331 is an act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent who were interned at the time of the first world war. It will provide for public commemoration and for redress devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance.

I would like to thank my colleague, the Conservative member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, for not only presenting the bill, but for holding the torch high for the people of Ukrainian descent to ensure redress became a reality and to right this historic wrong.

Today in the House of Commons I will concur with what the member across the way from Winnipeg North said. Tonight we need to ensure that the bill is passed, signed, sealed and delivered for the good of our Canadian history and for the good of the people of Ukrainian descent in our country.

Between 1914 and 1920 thousands of loyal Canadians were systematically arrested and interned in 24 camps throughout the country simply because of their national origin. This happened because at the outset of the first world war the western Ukraine was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and at that time Canada was at war with Austria-Hungary.

In the midst of wartime hysteria, people of Ukrainian descent were automatically connected to Austria-Hungary and were deemed to be a threat to our nation. This was a gross mistake that would prove to place a black mark on our Canadian history.

In actual fact, many of the Ukrainian Canadians fled their homeland and were refugees of Canada's wartime enemy, and were not enemies of Canada at all. They were loyal British subjects, allies of our wartime cause. In fact, many who were interned were born in Canada, but bore the wrong name.

When interned, men, women and children were forced to perform hard labour and live in their own homeland of Canada under very trying circumstances.

We cannot rewrite history. Nor can we change the fact that this injustice occurred. However, as heirs of our society we can acknowledge injustice and we can ensure that never again will this be allowed to happen on our Canadian soil.

Again, commend the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his perseverance, for holding his torch high to ensure that this injustice was corrected. To his great efforts, I commend my colleague for his perseverance and for him being able to witness tonight this historic event where all members on all sides of the House will join together to ensure that Bill C-331 is acclaimed.

Our modern history will mark its pages with the heroes of the Orange revolution in Ukraine. It is the recent history that will mark the people of Ukraine and the people of Ukrainian descent in Canada.

I spent my last Christmas in eastern Ukraine in Luhansk, helping with the election which was eventually won by Yuschenko. The beautiful countryside that spread out just 30 kilometres from the Russian border housed the courageous residents of Ukraine. These were people who wanted one thing. They wanted to be able to vote for the leader of their country and vote for whomever they wanted.

I grew to love the people and admire their hard work and dedication to their country. I was amazed when I walked the streets of Kiev and visited with the many people undergoing hardship, again to ensure they sent a message to their government that they wanted to be free to vote for whomever they chose.

The people of Ukraine became the heroes and the leaders of the world because they accomplished something no other nation had been able to achieve, the right to independence, the freedom to vote for whomever they wanted, without shedding one drop of blood.

The people of Ukraine have become my heroes because they are an example to the rest of the world. They are an example of the perseverance that we have seen from the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette. They are an example of the perseverance, the good heart and the hard work that it takes to make things happen.

Under the tents in Kiev, many people underwent hardship, but they had a vision for their country, the same as today where members on all sides of the House have a vision for this bill.

Today in the riding of Kildonan--St. Paul, leaders in Ukrainian communities such as Lesia Swaluk and Ostap Skrypnyk, do much to enhance and support the Ukrainian community, not only in my riding but in my province of Manitoba and throughout the world. They too are part of the courageous heritage that holds the banner high, a heritage that is an example not only to our nation but to the global community.

I support Bill C-311, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, and I am proud to do so. In these turbulent times in the House of Commons, we are able to come together for a common good, and that common good has a leader in the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette who has done much to ensure that the leadership had a very conciliatory genre to it, so in the end this could happen.

It is a miracle, as he said a little earlier, that there has been unanimous consent on all sides of the House to ensure that the bill is passed in the House of Commons and that the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act will give due respect and diligence to the people of Ukrainian descent who were put through so much trauma during the first world war.

This is a good thing tonight. We can all hold our heads high. This will mark the fact that many immigrants and many people who have come to Canada have made up the mosaic of our great nation.

It is with much pride that I have had the opportunity to speak to the bill. I congratulate all members of the House on its success.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 7 p.m.
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to join in this debate on a very important issue that has been neglected for many years.

I would like to thank the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his perseverance on this issue and for all those who are now prepared to join in and support the passage of the bill to enact this long overdue measure. That is the issue at hand.

Can we as a Parliament put aside our differences? Can we put aside our normal process to ensure that Bill C-331 is actually enacted today?

It must be today because of the amount of time and energy that has been spent on this issue of recognition for a very deplorable time in our history when Ukrainians in Canada were interned because they were under suspicion during World War I.

All of my colleagues in the NDP caucus support the bill. I want to talk today a bit about not only the urgency but the fact that Ukrainian Canadians have contributed so much to our country. Yet, there has been so little done to deal with some very grievous chapters in the history of this country.

One is the internment of Ukrainian Canadians. The other ties into an important anniversary that we just commemorated this past week, and that is the 70th anniversary of the genocide and famine experienced by Ukrainians during the time of Stalin.

Both issues have been before the House. Both issues deserve action and both issues have been waiting for something to be done. There were lots of promises made, lots of attempts to advance the agenda on this, but to date there has been so little progress.

We all recall, leading up to the last election, how this issue that the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette had brought to our attention was going to be addressed by the then Minister of Canadian Heritage. There were great expectations on the part of the Ukrainian community that this would have been carried out and that this chapter in our history would have been dealt with. Unfortunately, we know what happened. The commitment made by the minister at the time was not kept by the government of the day and in fact, we are still trying to resolve this egregious chapter in our history.

On the question of the famine, I want to acknowledge the work of the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette and others who have tried to get this resolved. We still have not had a proper recognition of that tragedy in our history. I want to mention that in Winnipeg, as the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette and others know, great work is being done to get this sorry chapter in our history recognized as part of the new museum on human rights that we hope will be opened in the Forks.

My colleagues from Windsor, the members for Windsor—Tecumseh and Windsor West, have both been a part of a project in their city in establishing the first ever monument to recognize this sorry chapter in our history, that being the famine and genocide during the Stalinist regime. That monument was unveiled in a prominent part of Windsor, in Jackson Park. That has given a focal point for Ukrainians in Canada.

However, we need to do more and we certainly want to see the government recognize all across the country how this awful period in our history came about, and how we have to commit ourselves to prevent genocide and acts of hatred in the future.

With respect to Bill C-331, clearly, it is about recognition for this period in our history, the internment of Ukrainian Canadians. It is also about beginning a period of negotiation and discussion around restitution and settlement. There needs to be some proper recognition for the pain and suffering of individuals during this period of time involving the compensation for confiscated property, and the loss of dignity and wealth that was never returned.

Let us not only recognize this travesty, this sorry chapter in our history, but let us also put our minds and hearts at work to ensure that there is some sort of restitution for this terrible time in our history.

I want to recognize the work of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg. My colleague the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette has done that and has received a lot of support from the Ukrainian Canadian community.

In particular, I want to reference the work that has been done by those who have told the stories and continue to tell the stories across the country. I would like to read for the record one such story that has been circulated to all of us. It was written by Pierre Pawliw. He wrote:

During World War I, my mother, Stephania Mielniczuk, at the age of 3 years was taken along with her parents to the internment camp located at Spirit Lake, in the Abitibi region of Quebec. She never talked about this while I was growing up. In fact, I only learned about it from my aunt that I visited in Poland in 1984. When I asked my mother why she never mentioned it, she told me it was on account that she thought that I, along with her other four children, would think she was some kind of foolish old woman.

What happened to my mother, and to countless other Ukrainians and people of eastern Europe is an integral part of Canada's history. We cannot brush it aside as distorted memories of foolish individuals. We must recognize what happened so that the individuals that labored in these camps be remembered as people who contributed to making Canada a great country.

Those words probably express better than all of the speeches in the House why we must act today, and why we must support the hard work of the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette. Those words express why we must stand together to honour the contribution of Ukrainian Canadians in this country. It has often been said that we cannot go forward until we remember the past. Here is a precise example of just that.

While we are all tidying up loose ends and complete some outstanding work of the House as we will likely proceed to an election in short order, I hope that we can actually take the little time that is necessary to ensure that all stages of Bill C-331 are completed today. I hope that we can put the final stamp of approval on this legislative initiative and ensure that Ukrainian Canadians remember this Parliament as one that stood up for recognition of their contribution to this country.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 6:45 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women and Minister responsible for Industry (Women Entrepreneurs)

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking the hon. member for his bill and his cooperation at committee. We have been able to finally address a very important issue, an issue that struck at the hearts of all committee members. I want to thank him for his tremendous determination and hard work in this regard. I am so pleased to see that we are finally at third reading today.

Canada's experience with diversity distinguishes it from most other countries. Our 30 million inhabitants reflect a cultural, ethnic and linguistic makeup found nowhere else on the earth. Over 200,000 immigrants a year from all parts of the globe continue to choose Canada, drawn by its quality of life and its reputation as an open, peaceful and caring society that welcomes newcomers and indeed values diversity.

From Confederation through the boom years of immigration prior to World War I, to the inter-war years and the current post-war era, our immigration policy and legislation have helped to shape the Canada we have today. Over time, Canadian governments have reflected society's increasing willingness to accept differences within the population and specifically the legitimacy of the rights of minorities to maintain their culture and also their traditions. Throughout our history, there have, however, been instances of laws that would be considered regressive today.

In Canada, the years prior to World War I witnessed heavy immigration from eastern Europe. When war broke out, the country faced a serious problem: what to do with recent immigrants who were citizens of the countries with which Canada was at war.

The problem became quite acute in 1914 when German and Austro-Hungarian nationals resident in Canada were called upon by their respective governments to return home to honour their military draft obligations.

The War Measures Act of 1914 stated in section 6 that:

The Governor in Council may do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada;... it is hereby declared that the powers of the Governor in Council shall extend to all matters coming within the classes of subjects hereinafter enumerated, that is to say....

Among other things were included “arrest, detention, exclusion and deportation” and “appropriation, control, forfeiture and disposition of property and of the use thereof”.

Under orders made pursuant to the War Measures Act, 8,579 people--civilians and prisoners of war--were interned in 26 camps across Canada during the first world war. The internees were composed of a mix of nationalities, including Turkish, Bulgarian, German and Austro-Hungarian. The largest number were from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire, which included Croatians, Czechs, Poles, Serbians and other Europeans. The numbers also included perhaps 5,000 Ukrainians out of an estimated population of about 171,000 of Ukrainian origin in Canada at that time.

From the beginning, internees were treated as prisoners of war and, in keeping with the terms of the Hague convention, received the same standards of food, clothing and accommodations as Canadian soldiers. It is estimated that by the end of the war in 1918 there were only three internment camps remaining in operation. The last camp officially closed in February 1920.

Under the federal Office of the Custodian of Enemy Property, a claims process was adjudicated in the post-war period of World War I and World War II. The government had determined that after World War I some moneys went unclaimed from some internees of Austro-Hungarian empire descent, despite advertisements in mainstream and ethnocultural newspapers.

In 1976, convinced the vast majority of claims had been resolved, the Government of Canada closed this office. As the Hon. Sheila Finestone stated in the House of Commons in 1994:

--as Canadians we are proud that our citizens trace their origins to every part of the world. Together we have built this country on the principles of fairness, generosity and compassion. Our history records the remarkable success we have achieved by applying those principles.

Our history also records that at times we have strayed from them. There have been episodes that have caused suffering to people.

In the crisis atmosphere of war, some Canadian ethnocultural communities found their loyalty questioned, their freedom restrained and their lives disrupted.

Canadians wish those episodes had never happened. We wish those practices had never occurred.

Allow me to continue to quote:

We all share in the responsibility to learn from the past. The Government of Canada believes that our common obligation lies in preventing such situations from ever occurring again.

With that statement in the House, the government adopted a policy on historical redress, which, first, reaffirmed the uniqueness of the Japanese Canadian redress agreement; second, confirmed that no financial compensation would be awarded to individuals or communities for historical events; third, committed to a forward-looking agenda to ensure that such practices did not recur; and fourth, noted that limited and future federal resources would be used to create a more equitable society.

Indeed, the establishment of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation was a signal of federal commitment to eliminate racism and racial discrimination. In this regard, the foundation officially opened its doors in November 1997.

Canada in 2005 is a very different Canada. Tremendous steps have been taken toward making our country a better place. Beginning in 1950 with the report of the Massey-Lévesque commission, ethnocultural diversity gradually came to be understood as an essential ingredient in a distinct Canadian identity.

The Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960 recognized and declared that certain human rights and fundamental freedoms existed, without discrimination on the grounds of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex. In 1970, Canada ratified the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. As a party to the convention, Canada has undertaken to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms.

The Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 proclaimed that all individuals should have equal opportunity with others without being discriminated against on the grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

In 1982, section 15 of the newly adopted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also recognized that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Section 15 came into effect in 1985.

In addition, the multicultural character of Canada gained constitutional recognition in section 27 of the charter. It specified that the courts were to interpret the charter “in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians”. The Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988 affirmed multiculturalism as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society.

We have worked and will continue working with Ukrainian Canadians and other ethnocultural communities to document their history and experiences through a range of commemorative projects, including films, books and exhibits that enable them to tell their stories to other Canadians.

To conclude, I would again like to thank the member for his efforts and his hard work to ensure that the bill will become law. I strongly believe in the need to acknowledge and commemorate the historical events referred to in Bill C-331 as well as educate Canadians about these experiences. No matter how much we might wish to erase these events from the history of our country, today's government cannot, nor can we pay for restitution for historical actions without placing an undue burden on existing and future generations that are in no way responsible for these events.

The Ukrainian community has helped to shape the strong multicultural society we are today. I truly honour the contribution that individuals of Ukrainian descent have made in the building of Canada and I recognize that this contribution was made even in the face of dark moments and great hardship.

It is important that we find an acceptable way to highlight it and educate Canadians about this contribution. I am pleased that Bill C-331 offers us a way forward in doing just that. I encourage all members of the House to support it in its amended form.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for persevering with Bill C-331 and for standing up for the Ukrainian community.

Tonight is a historic moment in the House of Commons because all parties have been a part of something that is very good. I applaud the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for taking the leadership.

Could the member please make some comments about the future in terms of what will happen with the bill?

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, first let me thank the member for Kildonan—St. Paul for seconding the bill and for her continued support of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg.

It is indeed an honour to rise this evening to debate Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, at its final reading.

This is a historic day not only for the over one million Ukrainian Canadians, but also for Canada as a society.

I will not use up all of my allotted time in order that all members and all parties get to speak to Bill C-331 this evening.

It is indeed a miracle that Bill C-331 has made it this far. The question I ask is how did Bill C-331 get this far? Bill C-331 succeeded because there was goodwill and cooperation on the part of many people. I have a lot of people to thank. Getting Bill C-331 to this stage has truly been a team effort.

It was truly a team effort on the part of the Ukrainian community, the Taras Shevchenko Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian Civil Liberties Association and the thousands of Canadians of Ukrainian descent who have worked on this redress issue for over two decades.

It was truly a team effort on the part of the House of Commons, the Liberal government members, the Conservative Party members, the Bloc Party members as well as the NDP members.

We all know that after two decades it is time for the government to resolve this outstanding issue in the history of this country. This bleak event in Canadian history must be recognized and we, as a society, must learn from it. This is an issue of justice denied.

I am honoured to have tabled Bill C-331 three times in the House. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to represent the wishes of the Ukrainian community in Canada.

Passing Bill C-331 demonstrates the mature Canada that people in this country expect. It makes a loud statement that Canada has grown up, that Canada can accept its past, that Canada can learn from its past, that Canada will not repeat this history.

Bill C-331 would never have gotten out of committee without the full cooperation of its members and political parties. I want to thank the heritage minister, the chairman of the heritage committee, the parliamentary secretary, all the party leaders, including my own party leader who spoke at the second reading stage of Bill C-331, and all members of the committee.

All members of the committee involved in this parliamentary process, in fact all members of the House, can surely take credit for the success of Bill C-331. There was political will to do the right thing and that actually happened to help push Bill C-331 to this stage this evening.

It is my hope that in passing Bill C-331, the House of Commons will send a strong signal to this government and to the next government that the people of Canada have spoken and spoken loudly to get on with it and to bring resolution to this issue.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

November 23rd, 2005 / 6:35 p.m.
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The Deputy Speaker

Before the House proceeds to report stage of Bill C-331, I would like to refer hon. members to my ruling of March 21, 2005 at pages 4372 and 4373 of Hansard, in which I determined that Bill C-331, in the form it was then in, required a royal recommendation in order to be put to a vote at third reading. At that time, I said, “If the bill is amended at committee or report stage, the need for a royal recommendation may be removed and a vote may be requested”.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage reported the bill with amendments on November 3. I have examined the report and note that the bill has been amended so as to remove the need for a royal recommendation. Accordingly, Bill C-331 may proceed to a vote at third reading.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 3rd, 2005 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

In accordance with order of reference on Thursday, March 24, your committee has considered Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act, and agreed on Tuesday, November 1, to report it with amendments.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

October 3rd, 2005 / 3:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Along the same lines on a related private member's bill that is now before the committee, and again in concurrence with the mover of the private member's bill, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, your committee is requesting an extension of 30 sitting days to consider Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, thereby providing the committee with a total of 90 sitting days during which to complete its study of the bill.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

March 24th, 2005 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to stand and thank all members who spoke on Bill C-331, both at the first hour of reading as well as this evening at the second hour.

I thank members of the Bloc as well as members of the NDP for their continued support as well as the leader of the official opposition for his intervention this evening. I also thank the Ukrainian community for the 20 years of commitment it has given to ensuring that redress continues. In essence, this is their bill.

Bill C-331 was crafted in consultation with both the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress as well as the Ukrainian-Canadian Civil Liberties Association. My intervention has been very brief. It has only been about seven years and their's has been over two decades. Hopefully, this is the year that we will all bring this to fruition.

I begin by briefly stating that there are two targets to the principle of the bill. First is to acknowledge the internment component of our Canadian history, which is totally missing in Canada's history. It has been hidden all these years. It is long overdue. Canada cannot be shameful of its past. It must learn from its past, but first it has to acknowledge its past. It has to acknowledge the hurt and the harm it created for the people who suffered.

This occurred, as mentioned a number of times this evening, during the First World War, between 1914 and 1920, when over 5,000 Ukrainian-Canadians were interned. Internment is a kind word for prison camp. Over 80,000 Ukrainian-Canadians were asked to register like common criminals and report monthly to the police. It is almost unbelievable that an event of this nature would have happened in this country, a country that promotes freedom of speech and democracy, yet we treated our pioneers of Ukrainian descent in that manner. It is shameful. That is why their story has to be told.

That is in essence the purpose of Bill C-331, and there are two purposes. The first is to acknowledge the event. The second target of the bill is to ask the Liberal government of the day to sit down with the Ukrainian community and work out a resolution. As I said, this has gone on for over 20 years. There is no shortage of effort by many people in the country who want to resolve the issue.

The former prime minister, Jean Chrétien, made a promise before he even became the prime minister. He said that he would deal with it. He has come and gone and the issue is not resolved. I am sure members of the current Liberal government have been lobbied over the last 10 years and the issue is still here. I know, Madam Speaker, that you made interventions and had a part to play in trying to resolve the issue and it did not happen. We have progressed somewhat but still have a long way to go.

Let me just make a couple of comments about the speaker's ruling on the bill. He stated that clause 3 would require a royal recommendation. That is not a problem. Let me also say that I met with the secretary of state to the minister responsible for multiculturalism and his staff. I also met with the legislative assistant for the minister of heritage to talk about how we can all help to get the bill through the House. I know Liberal members opposite are just as interested in being helpful rather than not being helpful, and I agree.

My position has been that too many of us for too long have waited. We need to work together to ensure that the bill gets through the House. That is why I encourage the members of the Liberal Party to vote for the bill when we return after the break, the first week of April.

My intent is to ensure that the bill will be streamlined so it will be acceptable to all members of the House. We all have big hearts and we need to deal with the issue today, not tomorrow.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

March 24th, 2005 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Madam Speaker, I am glad to address Bill C-331. I want to thank my hon. colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for the great work that he has been doing in presenting this bill. He has a large constituency with Ukrainian Canadians, as I do. I am a person of Ukrainian descent and quite proud of my heritage.

I wish to give members a bit of background. During World War I the War Measures Act of 1914 was implemented which, by order in council, took over 8,500 enemy aliens and 5,000 of those were Canadians and stuck them into concentration camps. Essentially, these interns were turned into forced labourers, used in logging camps and in the development of our national transportation system, and were spread right across the country.

Many of these Ukrainian immigrants came from the area of Bukovyna in Ukraine that was being occupied at the time by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was a very unfortunate event because these people had their property and cash assets all confiscated by the Government of Canada, along with some of these other Europeans, and never had those moneys and properties returned to them. It was a grave injustice that through this bill we now have the opportunity to correct.

In 1993 the former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, when he was leader of the official opposition, promised to rectify the situation. It has been over 12 years since that promise was made. It is just another example of a Liberal promise made, Liberal promise broken. This is a great opportunity for us to address it.

I must say that our family was quite fortunate. My grandparents emigrated from Bukovyna actually as two separate families. My grandmother was only nine years old when she emigrated to Canada from Ukraine and my grandfather was a young man who came a few years later. They came in the early 1900s. Luckily, for whatever reasons, my grandfather immigrated in 1907 and was not put in one of these forced labour camps. He was not put into a concentration camp nor had his property confiscated. Luckily, the Ukrainian community where I grew up was untouched.

My father told me it was not until he was a young man that he even realized that this had happened because our community, for whatever reason even though the immigrants came from Bukovyna which was under the Austria-Hungarian Empire rule, seemed to have gone untouched. However, certain Ukrainian descent Canadians were forced into these camps which is very unfortunate.

I like the way this bill is being proposed by my hon. colleague. Essentially, we are not talking about restitution to families, but we are talking about taking a hard look at putting in place the proper memorials and recognition of the suffering that was unjustly caused by the Government of Canada.

There were 24 concentration camps across Canada. We want to ensure that there are plaques, memorials and cairns erected at those sites, particularly the ones that possibly have not been recognized yet. We do not want to just erect plaques and cairns, but we wish to maintain them. So often in rural Canada we have cairns set up, but no one bothers to take care of them after we get them erected. Pretty soon the flags are tattered and no one is there maintaining the sites. This is actually taking a long term approach at this proposal of recognizing the injustice and maintaining those sites.

The other great part is that it will set up a permanent museum in Banff National Park, the location of one of these concentration camps. Banff is such a high volume visitor area. It will give us an opportunity to show that in the past Canadians have made mistakes. It will give us an opportunity to tell about the injustice, to educate people about how the concentration camps operated, and to talk about what a great contribution those people made to the nation.

Through their forced labour, they helped develop our logging industry. They helped develop our transportation system. They worked hard on behalf of Canada. Amazingly, they came out of the concentration camps and became very functional people within our society, and made a huge contribution after the fact.

This is a general recognition of all Ukrainians in Canada in developing farming in the west, particularly with the mass immigration during the very early parts of the century, which of course included my ancestors. My great grandfather and my grandfather, with their families, started farming and that of course was a major contribution in ensuring that the Prairies were productive.

The other part of the bill is to ensure that there are proper ceremonies to recognize the opening of the museum, the erection of the different cairns and plaques, and to have those formal ceremonies. We also want to ensure the production of the educational materials, so that at the cairns, when they are having their ceremonies in the schools in the areas where these cairns are erected and of course in the main museum that is going to be established in Banff National Park, they will be able to tell the story.

One of the suggestions in the bill that I really like, which my hon. colleague has brought forward, is the issuance of a stamp or series of stamps to point out this unfortunate event in our history.

Finally, the part of the bill which is very important proposes that a review of the emergency act that we have be carried out by the department that is responsible for it. We must also review how that report comes to Parliament and how we ensure that an atrocity like this never happens again.

The great thing about history is that we can always learn from it. We can look at our past and learn about some of the shortfalls that have happened and about the mistakes that we have made to ensure that we put in place the proper corrective measures, so that we never do it again. This is a great chance for us to do that. The bill creates the initiative to ensure that we do it.

Finally, the bill is directly in line with the policies of the Conservative Party of Canada. Our party policy states that we will recognize and resolve the outstanding redress issues of the Ukrainian Canadian and Chinese Canadian communities. That particular policy can be attributed to the hard work of my colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette.

This is a great opportunity to correct this injustice. It is good work. Duzhe dobre.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

March 24th, 2005 / 5 p.m.
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Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Paddy Torsney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Madam Speaker, as a country, Canada represents a coming together of many peoples. As such, we have learned over time to respect and mutually accept each other. It is this fact that separates us from others and puts Canada on the world stage.

We have established a legal foundation, enshrined in our Constitution, that is aimed at ensuring Canadians are protected from racism and discrimination. We will continue, as a government, to work on these issues so that all Canadians have the opportunity to participate to their fullest potential. In fact, that is what this House has been debating all week.

At the same time, we are working to strengthen the bonds of shared citizenship to ensure the continuance of the strong and cohesive Canadian society that we have today.

The Government of Canada recognizes there have been dark moments in the history of this country. We have recognized that presenting a complete history is important in understanding who we are as Canadians, even if the history we have to tell includes times when we have strayed from our shared commitment to human justice.

The internment of Ukrainian Canadians and other Europeans during the first world war is one of those chapters in Canadian history that we as a people, as Canadians, are not proud of, even though the actions of the government of that day were legal at that time.

Our commitment as a government is to strengthen the fabric of Canada's multicultural society. We are committed to learning from the past. We are committed to acknowledging and commemorating the significant contributions to Canada made by our rich and various ethnoracial and ethnocultural groups, including of course Ukrainians.

The Department of Canadian Heritage and the cultural agencies in the Canadian Heritage portfolio have made considerable efforts to ensure that the story of Ukrainians in Canada is known to all Canadians.

For example, Parks Canada, as one of the members opposite mentioned, while working under the heritage portfolio, worked closely with national and local Ukrainian Canadian groups to develop interpretive exhibits at Banff National Park, an exhibit I have seen, and at Yoho National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park. The exhibits help visitors and all Canadians understand the experiences, hardships and contributions of Ukrainian internees.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is providing funding to Ukrainian Canadian organizations to assist in documenting the experiences of Ukrainian internees and to underline the contribution of the Ukrainian community to our country.

Since the 1890s, when waves of Ukrainians helped to settle this vast land, Ukrainians have played an important role in Canada. An incredible number of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage have made extraordinary contributions to Canada, contributions of which all Canadians are very proud.

Wayne Gretzky, of course, is a star and international sports hero. Ed Werenich is a world champion in curling.

In the cultural sphere, all of us have adored artist William Kurelek's paintings and the work of violinist Steven Staryk.

In public life, Ramon Hnatyshyn and Roy Romanow have made us all proud.

Canada's first woman in space is Roberta Bondar. I was saying to one of my colleagues that I did not know she was of Ukrainian heritage.

To think of Ukrainian Canadians is also to recall Canada's war hero, Peter Dmytruk, who died for all of us on the battlefields of France in World War II.

As Canadians, we are proud to live in a country that recognizes the importance of diversity.

In the October 2004 Speech from the Throne, the government pledged to pursue its objectives, “in a manner that recognizes Canada's diversity as a source of strength and innovation”. We pledged “to be a steadfast advocate of inclusion” and “to demand equality of opportunity so that prosperity can be shared by all Canadians”.

In line with these commitments, the government is now advancing a number of multicultural and anti-racism initiatives designed to cultivate an even more equitable and inclusive society. Bills like Bill C-38.

In our recent budget, we provided $5 million per year to the multiculturalism program to enhance its contributions to equality for all.

A comprehensive and effective multiculturalism program is important in our increasingly diverse country where by the year 2016 the proportion of visible minorities is expected to reach 20%.

In the October 2004 Speech from the Throne, the government said that it would “strengthen Canada's ability to combat racism, hate speech and hate crimes”.

We will achieve that plan by investing $56 million over the next fives years to implement Canada's action plan against racism. Canada's action plan, which the government announced on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day that all of us celebrated, will reinforce the government's ongoing commitment to eliminating racist behaviours and attitudes. It will strengthen partnerships between the Government of Canada and community organizations to combat racism and will advance our international and domestic objectives.

A society looking to its future cannot do so without acknowledging troubling events from Canada's past. Budget 2005 provided $25 million over the next three years for commemorative and educational initiatives to highlight the contributions that Ukrainians and other ethnocultural groups have made to our Canadian society and to help build a better understanding among all Canadians of the strength of Canadian diversity.

With this funding the government is responding to demands from the community in a way that respects both the concerns of the communities and the government's 1994 policy on this issue.

Bill C-331 looks to the past for a solution. As a government we are looking to the future for all Canadians.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

March 24th, 2005 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House of Commons to speak to Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian recognition and restitution act. This bill has been brought forth due to the determination and the stick-to-it-iveness of the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette.

Sometimes in our history mistakes are made. Dare I say we cannot rewrite history, as the leader of the official opposition just pointed out, but what we can do is recognize a wrongdoing and give it the kind of recognition it deserves.

From 1997 to 2001 the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette consulted on this bill. As the previous speakers have said, the purpose of this enactment is to provide for redress for the injustice done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans during the first world war, to commemorate this sad event in Canadian history, and to provide for restitution. Restitution is to be devoted to educational materials dealing with Canada's past internment policies and activities and to promote tolerance and the role of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

On April 1, 2001 this bill was introduced by the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette. In the course of time the bill died on the order paper, but the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette had so much conviction about what should be done that it was reintroduced on November 18, 2002. Once again this very important bill died on the order paper. What had happened to Ukrainian Canadians was something that really touched the heart of the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette, so once again on October 12, 2004 the bill was reintroduced.

We have to note it is seldom that a member of Parliament takes so much time and makes so much of a commitment to reintroduce a bill. However, the member has done so because he has so much conviction that the Ukrainian Canadian people need to have redress on this particular issue.

As members have said before me, with the outbreak of World War I, the War Measures Act in 1914 was implemented through an order in council by the Canadian government. This resulted in the internment of 8,579 people. They were termed enemy aliens. They included over 5,000 Ukrainians who had immigrated to Canada from territories under the control of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

The internees were used as forced labourers to develop Canadian infrastructure. They were used to develop Banff National Park, the logging industry in northern Ontario and Quebec, the steel mills in Ontario and Nova Scotia and the mines in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. The infrastructure development program benefited Canadian corporations. There was no doubt about it. The terrible thing about this was that the internment was carried on for two years after the end of World War I. This was a sad day in our Canadian history.

The member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette was determined to make sure that the Ukrainian Canadian family of people who immigrated to our country was recognized not only for their contributions but also that the internment was something that should never have happened.

These wonderful people, who have been a foundation of our country and who have done many things to help Canada, should not have had to endure this internment. As other members have said, we cannot redo history. It happened and and it is time to address it and recognize the people of Ukrainian extraction, the people who helped build this country.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have done much to bring this issue to the forefront. In fact, to some degree the Mulroney government made promises of support. Even as early as 1993 the leader of the opposition, Jean Chrétien, said that he would do something to address this issue. It has been 11 years since that promise was made and Ukrainian Canadians are still waiting for acknowledgment of these injustices.

I am proud to stand in the House of Commons today to bring recognition and honour to the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette because this is what our Canadian Parliament is all about. He has been a champion for Ukrainian Canadians. He has also been a member of Parliament who has really touched the hearts of all Canadians because all Canadians now at this time, years after this happened, feel that this is a sad day in Canadian history.

The Government of Canada during that time unjustly confiscated money and property from Ukrainians and other Europeans, money that was never returned.

In Bill C-331, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette asks that the contemporary value be applied to various educational and commemorative projects for the benefit of all Canadians. No restitution will be made to individuals but rather the money will be put to laying the foundation of history so something like this can never happen again on Canadian soil.

Memorial plaques have been and are being installed in the 24 concentration camps in which persons of Ukrainian or eastern European descent were interned during World War I. Some still do not have such plaques but these plaques describe the events of the time and the regrets of present day Canadians, written in Ukrainian, English and French. In our country all can read this, all can remember and all can learn from this sad day in history.

The member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette also wanted to ensure that all memorial plaques at the concentration camp sites would be properly maintained. A lot of thought, a lot of stick-to-it-iveness and a lot of dedication has gone into the advent of this very important bill here in the House of Commons.

The bill also asks for the establishment of a permanent museum in Banff National Park at the site of the camp established there, again with signage in Ukrainian, English and French. This will provide information on the operation of all the concentration camps established in Canada at the time of World War I and the role that Ukrainian Canadians have played in the building of Canada since that time.

We have gone through a memorable year where the people of Ukraine have become the heroes of the world with their vote on December 26, 2004. We know the member for Etobicoke Centre was a real champion in that election. I think we need to acknowledge the heroes of our country. I have to give honour to the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette and thank him for his perseverance.

I know members on all sides of the House will put Bill C-331 through to honour and commemorate this event.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

March 24th, 2005 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today to speak to Bill C-331, a private member's bill that seeks to recognize the injustices that were done to persons of Ukrainian descent at the time of the first world war.

Let me begin by congratulating the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for the work he has done to bring the issue of internment of Ukrainian Canadians to the House. The bill underscores the need to publicly commemorate this tragic event through public education initiatives so as to lead to an atonement.

I love Canada and believe that Canada is unique internationally. The Canada that I have known for the last number of decades has been a shining example of multiculturalism. We do not just tolerate our differences; we celebrate the people and cultures that make up our national mosaic.

I mentioned that I rose with a heavy heart. It is because I also know that to make our Canada an even greater country, we must have the courage to acknowledge the dark episodes of our country's past.

While some would have preferred to sweep the tragic episode of the internment operations from 1914 to 1920 into the dustbin of history, the Ukrainian Canadian community remembers, and through public acknowledgement by the government seeks to bring closure to a painful episode in our common history.

We should congratulate the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association in their determination to make sure that there is a proper acknowledgement.

In the decades following Canada's Confederation, thousands of Ukrainians were encouraged to leave their homeland and embark on an arduous journey that took them to some of the most remote parts of western Canada. These settlers faced very harsh living conditions under isolated circumstances with little in the way of support. Yet their desire for freedom and a better future for their children and grandchildren sustained them during these very difficult pioneering years.

Out of the wilderness of Canada's west they carved golden wheat fields as far as the eyes could see. Yet despite having built Canada's west and despite having been a counterbalance to the expansionist intents of settlers from the United States, Ukrainian Canadians experienced prejudice and racism in their new homeland.

With the outbreak of World War I, this prejudice and racism was fanned into xenophobia culminating in the implementation of the War Measures Act as a result of an order in council by the Canadian government. Some 8,579 so-called enemy aliens, of which over 5,000 were Ukrainians who had emigrated to Canada from the Austro-Hungarian empire, were interned.

These internees, which in many cases included women and children, were not only disenfranchised, but their homes and homesteads were taken away from them. They were sent to processing centres for internment and then sent to work camps to live behind barbed wires.

In addition to this internment, some 80,000 Canadian citizens, of which the vast majority were Ukrainian, were obliged to register as enemy aliens and then required to report to local authorities on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, the internees were used as forced labourers to develop our nation's infrastructure. They were used to build Banff National Park, the logging industry in northern Ontario and Quebec, the steel mills in Ontario and Nova Scotia and the mines in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. This infrastructure development program benefited Canadian corporations to such a degree that even after the end of World War I, for two more years the Canadian government carried on the internment and the forced labour.

From 1914 to 1920, a breaking of the trust between the government and its own citizens took place in Canada. It was called internment. Politicians and leading Canadians took an active role in its justification by feeding the dark side of human nature: fear of different cultures, prejudice and xenophobia.

In this tragic case, the victims were pioneers who were encouraged to leave their homeland to help build Canada. It is an example of the terrible human cost paid when xenophobia and racism are fuelled by international threats and are unchecked by legislation.

Today, notwithstanding the existence of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, processes such as denaturalization and deportation show the vulnerability of individual rights when government succumbs to ignorance and fear.

As the grandson and son of Ukrainian immigrants, I have a particular appreciation for the significance of the member's bill. I view the bill as part of the process to ensure that this historical wrong is righted through an honourable acknowledgement.

After 85 years it is high time that the internment operations against Ukrainian Canadians be properly addressed by the instalment and maintenance of 24 memorial plaques at 24 internment camps across Canada, and by the establishment of a permanent museum at the site of the internment camp in Banff National Park. This museum should provide educational information on the operation of the internment camps across Canada and the role of Ukrainian Canadians as one of western Canada's founding peoples.

As well, the minister responsible for Canada Post should engage the corporation to issue a set of stamps to commemorate the contribution of Ukrainian Canadians in building this great country.

Finally, resources should be set aside to establish educational projects. Such projects should be agreed to by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Government of Canada.

I believe that there now is the will in the House for a reconciliation to which the bill speaks. I am optimistic and look forward to the day when the Government of Canada and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress begin the negotiation process so that present and future generations of Canadians will be afforded the opportunity to learn from this tragic episode in our history.

May a complete knowledge of our past help this and future generations in our collective enterprise of building an even stronger multicultural Canada, a celebratory mosaic of peoples which the rest of the world will look to as an example of what a society can achieve.

It is and always has been my firm belief that a few friendly amendments to the wording of Bill C-331 would ensure that this long overdue legislation can and will be supported unanimously by all parties and all members of the House. I look forward to working hard to achieve this goal with the Ukrainian Canadian community and the bill's author, whom I would like to congratulate once again on his determination in bringing the bill forward.

The time for a reconciliation has arrived.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

March 24th, 2005 / 4:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak on Bill C-331, which is intended to redress an intolerable injustice done to a community which, over the years, has contributed to Canada's cultural, social and economic development.

This is a bill to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the First World War and to provide for public commemoration and for restitution which is to be devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance.

It is important we remember today that this is not the first time this House has discussed the importance of recognition and restitution for the Ukrainian community. I would remind the House that in September 1991 this Parliament debated a motion made by the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, who wanted to recognize that internment, removal of the right to vote, and other repressive measures taken against Ukrainian-Canadians between 1914 and 1920 were unjustified and contrary to the principles of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Moreover, that motion proposed to direct Parks Canada to erect commemorative plaques in each of the 26 concentration camps where Ukrainians were interned.

The purpose of this bill, therefore, is to go beyond that. Canada must acknowledge this major historical error, but not just with simple commemorative plaques in public places. These events, which are intolerable and unacceptable to us all, must be properly acknowledged. We must also dare to go still further by providing for a compensation package so that the public can come to know of these events and their consequences, which in today's context would have been contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

People need to understand, to feel, to consider that these people, who came here and were welcomed with open arms 10 or 20 years before World War I, were treated unfairly and inhumanely, not just during the war years, but up until 1920. How could we allow that? These people—more than 5,000 of them—had come to Canada to escape the unbearable situation in which they had been living. They came here in search of a breath of fresh air and respect for their rights. They were interned in more than 26 labour camps, where they were treated, purely and simply, like animals. They were considered enemies, aliens, because two Ukrainian territories were under the Austro-Hungarian empire. Is that any way to treat a people? Because Canada considered Austria an enemy at that time, these people were penalized, and their freedom was not respected.

Today we are considering a bill that would mark the events experienced by this community and set up—we hope—a plan for restitution that would help better inform the public.

In addition to imprisoning these people in inhumane conditions, where forced labour, curfews, confinement and internment were the norm, and rather than give them the freedom they were entitled to and came looking for in Canada, we forced them to live in unacceptable living conditions.

This was not limited to these imprisoned individuals. In fact, more than 88,000 Ukrainians who were not imprisoned had to report to the police. They had to follow a certain number of directives such as reporting regularly, as in a true police state.

In a democracy, this type of approach is totally unacceptable. Individuals' right to freedom was denied at the time. Today this Parliament, by taking matters further than in the motion tabled in 1991, is offering restitution through a legislative measure and a bill, which we are proud to support.

Why were these people imprisoned? Were they a threat to national security? No. Because the land of these people was unfortunately part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, their freedom was violated, nothing less.

Today, we must unequivocally support this bill to correct a past mistake.

I will conclude by saying that Canada, today, has to live up to the ideals it defends. It has to be able to recognize when it has made mistakes that go against these ideals. History must be given every opportunity to not repeat itself. We have a fine opportunity here today. It is a start. Recognizing past mistakes is a way of facing the future in all fairness and serenity.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

March 24th, 2005 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the House for allowing me to speak first on the debate this afternoon as I have a busy schedule. I also want to thank in particular the member for Kildonan—St. Paul who gave up her slot to allow me to speak first. I know she has done a lot of work on the bill and with the Ukrainian community and we are very much appreciative of her efforts.

I rise today to address an important and unfortunate chapter in Canadian history. I am pleased to give my support as a consequence to Bill C-331.

Bill C-331 is an act to recognize he injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the first world war. The bill would provide for public commemoration and for redress devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance.

Allow me to begin by first recognizing the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and in particular Professor Lubomyr Luciuk for their tireless efforts to promote awareness of the internment of Ukrainian Canadians during the first world war. Without their efforts, we would likely not be having this kind of debate in Parliament today. Unfortunately, without their advocacy this chapter of Canadian history would already have been largely forgotten.

I would like to thank my colleague, the Conservative member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, for presenting this bill and for bearing the torch for a long time for redress of this historic wrong. His leadership has been critical in working to finally close this painful chapter of Canadian history for the descendants of those Canadians who were unjustly interned several decades ago.

Between 1914 and 1920 Canada witnessed its first internment operations under the War Measures Act. Thousands of loyal Canadians were systematically arrested and interned in 24 camps throughout the country simply because of their national origin. Nearly 9,000 Canadians were interned, the vast majority of Ukrainian origin.

At the outset of the first world war, western Ukraine was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian empire and Canada was of course at war with Austria-Hungary. In the midst of wartime hysteria, everyone with a connection to Austria-Hungary was deemed a threat to our country. Often of course this was simply incorrect. Ironically, in this case many thousands of Ukrainian Canadians had actually fled the occupying power in their homeland. A knowledgeable assessment of the situation could have led to only one conclusion: these refugees of Canada's wartime enemy were not enemies of Canada. They were new, loyal British subjects and allies of our wartime cause.

In fact, in 1915, I should mention that the British foreign office twice instructed Ottawa to grant Ukrainians “preferential treatment”, arguing that they were to be considered “friendly aliens” rather than “enemy aliens”. Yet the federal government of the time simply would not listen and would not change course.

Moreover, many of those interned were not just naturalized British subjects. They were truly Canadians. They were born in Canada, but bearing the wrong last name or the wrong parentage because in this case even children were interned.

Throughout the internment operation the civilian internees were transported to Canada's frontier hinterlands where they were forced to perform hard labour under trying circumstances. Some sites that we all know well today, including Banff and Jasper national parks and the experimental farms at Kapuskasing, were first developed by this pool of forced labour. Again ironically, as Ukrainian Canadians were being interned for having been unfortunate enough to enter this country with Austro-Hungarian passports, other Ukrainian Canadians who had entered Canada on different foreign documents were serving Canada loyally in overseas battle.

Let us not forget Ukrainian-Canadian war veteran Philip Konowal, who was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V for his brave wartime service. He was a Ukrainian Canadian honoured, while at the very same time his fellow neighbours and descendants of Ukraine were wondering why they had chosen Canada to be their new home while they were being interned.

We know we cannot rewrite history. That is not the exercise today. We cannot change the fact that an injustice occurred. Frankly, only those who carried out an injustice can truly be held accountable. Only those who themselves suffered injustice can ever properly be compensated.

However as heirs of our society and its institutions we can acknowledge injustice. We can appreciate the lessons of history and we can make amends where appropriate in our own time. It is in my judgment time to make amends.

If Bill C-331 is allowed to pass, it will be the first official acknowledgement that Canada's treatment of Ukrainian Canadians during the first world war was wrong. It will be the first time that a promise made many times by many Canadian political leaders will be kept.

Former prime minister, Jean Chrétien, had repeatedly promised to officially recognize the internment operations but he failed to deliver while in office.

Former heritage minister, Sheila Copps, made a similar promise to give official recognition to this historical injustice but also failed to act once elected to the government benches. It is time to simply put this matter to rest.

By passing Bill C-331, we will finally take a step to acknowledge the injustice of the past, an injustice that would never be allowed to be committed today in this great country which reveres our freedoms and the rule of law.

So far the Ukrainian Canadian community has placed memorial plaques at almost all of the internment sites except for five to remind Canadians of what happened at these locations so that this sad chapter of our history may never be repeated.

Many official documents and archival files were destroyed in the early 1950s but slowly material has been researched and is resurfacing once again. We give thanks to many academics of Ukrainian Canadian heritage who have resolved to keep alive our collective memory of these historical events.

However we should go further. We should officially recognize these events as a historical wrong.

The last remaining survivor of these internment operations, Mary Haskett, is still alive. She will be turning 97 this summer. I sincerely hope that she will live to see an official reconciliation of this past injustice.

On behalf of the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette and all members of the Conservative Party, I certainly urge my colleagues in the House to join me in support of Bill C-331.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

March 21st, 2005 / 3 p.m.
See context

The Speaker

I am now ready to rule with regard to issues affecting two private members' bills, Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, and Bill C-333, the Chinese Canadian recognition and redress act.

Last December 7 when debate commenced on second reading of Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, I expressed some concern about provisions of this bill which might infringe on the financial initiative of the crown. At that time I asked for submissions on this matter from interested members before the bill was next debated.

On February 22 the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader and the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell made submissions on the requirements for a royal recommendation for this bill. The parliamentary secretary also made a submission of why a royal recommendation was required for Bill C-333, the Chinese Canadian recognition and redress act standing in the name of the member for Durham. The Chair wishes to thank these members for having addressed this matter thoroughly and providing the Chair with sufficient time to consider their arguments.

The central issue which is being addressed at this time is whether Bill C-331 in its present form requires a royal recommendation. If this is the case, the bill in its current form will not be put to a vote at third reading unless a royal recommendation is first brought forward by a minister of the crown. If the bill is amended at committee or report stage, the need for a royal recommendation may be removed and a vote may be requested.

Hon. members may recall the ruling given on February 24, 2005 with respect to the royal recommendation and Bill C-23, an act to establish the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development. The issue which was addressed at that time is similar to the one before us today, specifically, is there an infringement on the financial initiative of the crown? The financial initiative of the crown, a well-established principle of our parliamentary system of government, reserves to the government the right to propose the spending of public funds for a particular purpose. The initiative of the crown is assured by the constitutional requirement that any such proposal to the House must be accompanied by a royal recommendation as required by section 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and Standing Order 79 of this House.

Does Bill C-331 require a royal recommendation; that is, does Bill C-331 contain a proposal for the spending of public funds that would constitute an appropriation or an equivalent authorization to spend? In my view it does. Clause 2(c) states that the Minister of Canadian Heritage shall:

(c) establish a permanent museum in Banff National Park, at the site of the concentration camp that was established there,--

It is clear that it mandates the establishment of a permanent museum. Therefore, in my view, clause 2(c) constitutes an appropriation within the meaning of section 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and Standing Order 79. Alternatively, it constitutes an authorization to spend the necessary public funds and as such is the equivalent of an appropriation under section 54 or Standing Order 79.

The hon. member has advised the House that the new museum would be housed in an existing building and restructuring costs would be paid from funds obtained from the negotiated restitution. However, this is not indicated in the bill, and the Chair can only rely on the text of the bill in these matters.

I appreciate the hon. member sharing with the House what is contemplated by this bill. No doubt the hon. member and others supporting this initiative have been mindful of the need to minimize the cost of this project to the public purse, but costs there nonetheless would be, and for a new and distinct purpose: a Ukrainian Canadian museum at Banff, Alberta. I must assume that these costs would be met by public funds from the consolidated revenue fund. The mandatory language allows me no other interpretation of clause 2(c).

Clause 3 has been challenged by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader who contends that it also requires a royal recommendation. Clause 3 states, in part:

The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall—negotiate—asuitable payment in restitution for the confiscation of property and other assets from Ukrainian Canadians.

The House will recall that in an initial ruling relating to Bill C-331 made on December 7, 2004 it was determined that this clause did not require a royal recommendation. The hon. parliamentary secretary now argues that the notion of a restitution payment created a positive obligation, in his words, to spend funds. I have now given the matter further consideration and I find no requirement for a royal recommendation.

If the term “positive obligation” means that the government is given a mandate to spend public funds, then I would expect to see legislative text that clearly indicates an intention to expend those funds.

This bill provides for a negotiation with the Ukrainian community before any payment can be made, implying that no restitution amount may ever be determined. Accordingly, it cannot be said that this bill upon enactment would effect an appropriation of public funds. At the very least, a bill effecting an appropriation of public funds or an equivalent authorization to spend public funds does so immediately upon enactment.

Once Parliament approves a bill that requires a royal recommendation, there should be nothing further required to make the appropriation. To subject an appropriation to a subsequent action beyond the control of Parliament is in effect for Parliament to delegate its powers and responsibilities in respect of supply to someone else. This Parliament cannot do.

When Parliament adopts a bill, it is either effecting an appropriation of public funds or it is not doing so. A royal recommendation is not required in respect of actions that may or may not ever happen and so is not required in respect of clause 3 of the bill.

Now let us turn to Bill C-333, the Chinese Canadian recognition and redress act sponsored by the hon. member for Durham.

In this case as well the hon. parliamentary secretary argued that the bill required a royal recommendation because it would impose a positive obligation upon the government to spend public funds once the amount of redress was negotiated and formed part of an agreement between the Government of Canada and the National Congress of Chinese Canadians.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary drew attention to Clause 4 that reads:

The Government of Canada shall negotiate an agreement for redress with the National Congress of Chinese Canadians, to be proposed to Parliament for approval.

He argued that the negotiated agreement provided for did not detract from the positive obligation imposed upon the government by the bill. The Chair does not agree with that position.

For the reasons I just gave in respect to Bill C-331 and its restitution clause, I cannot accept that Bill C-333 constitutes an appropriation within the meaning of the term in section 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867, or Standing Order 79. Nor do I consider that it constitutes an equivalent authorization to spend public funds under these authorities.

Accordingly, to summarize, in the case of Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act standing in the name of the hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, a royal recommendation will be required before it can be put to a vote at third reading in its current form. In the meantime, consideration of this bill can continue in the House and in committee.

With respect to Bill C-333, the Chinese Canadian recognition and redress act standing in the name of the hon. member for Durham, a royal recommendation is not required to negotiate an agreement for redress. This bill in its current form can proceed to a vote at third reading.

I wish to thank the House for its patience in allowing me to review the requirements for a royal recommendation.

As it is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that private members' business is conducted in an orderly manner, the Chair will continue to bring to the attention of the House those private members' bills on the order of precedence which may require a royal recommendation.

If the Chair does not identify a specific bill having need of a royal recommendation, it would still be open to any member to raise his or her concerns at an early opportunity. In this way the House can proceed in an informed manner in its consideration of private members' business.

Ukrainian CanadiansStatements By Members

February 24th, 2005 / 2 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, on February 22, the Liberal government intervened to have Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian recognition and restitution bill, struck from the order paper.

The Liberals questioned the judgment of the Chair on the issue of restitution, despite an earlier reading.

I was proud to second the bill tabled by the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette.

Canada's Ukrainian community has waited 20 years for redress. What is the Liberal government afraid of? Are they afraid of acknowledging Canada's past history and the injustices done to those interned during the first world war?

Bill C-331 belongs to the one million Canadians of Ukrainian descent. They expect the House to have the courage to debate it.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

February 22nd, 2005 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind members opposite that Bill C-331 has already had one hour of debate and the Chair has ruled that the restitution component does not require royal consent. It just does not make any sense that we start debating a bill and all of a sudden the government objects. I do not believe we should be dealing with Bill C-333 when we are talking about intervention with Bill C-331.

The member opposite stated that all these clauses start with “shall”. Could he show me a government bill that does not have the word “shall” in it? If we were to withdraw all the shalls from the short bill, we would not have a bill.

This is to continue negotiations. The crux of the bill is to ask the government to sit down with the Ukrainian Canadian community and negotiate. No dollars are noted in the bill.

On the issue of the museum, I have stated, and this is actually from the past history of the last government, how close it came to resolving this issue.

If the bill is successful on the vote at the end of the second reading, the committee can deal with it. The committee can eliminate, delete, amend or do whatever it wants. The government will have plenty of say. After 20 years surely the House would allow the one million Ukrainians in communities in Canada to have their say. I think that would be justice for that ethnic community. This is a long time to rule this bill out of order. Let the committee decide.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

February 22nd, 2005 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to provide some advice to the Chair on what we consider to be an important issue. The member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette made a very useful intervention in describing some of the context of what he is trying to achieve in Bill C-331.

I would urge you, Mr. Speaker, when you make your ruling on this issue to be restricted by the text of the legislation that is before the House. Some of the information that the member offered in his intervention is not reflected in the actual text of the bill. I would urge you, Mr. Speaker, to be very careful in considering this matter and to restrict yourself to the text of the legislation. With that in mind, I would like to make a few observations on the matter.

As the hon. member mentioned, on December 7, 2004, in the first hour of debate on Bill C-331, the Acting Chair invited any members interested in the matter to make a submission to the Chair explaining their views on whether or not this bill requires a royal recommendation.

As the House of Commons Procedure and Practice states, under the Canadian system of government, the Crown alone initiates all public expenditure, and Parliament may only authorize spending which has been recommended by the Governor General.

This is the essence of our system of responsible government.

This prerogative is signified by way of the royal recommendation, which accompanies all appropriation acts or bills which authorize new charges for purposes not anticipated in the estimates.

This reference by Marleau and Montpetit specifies that the charge imposed by the legislation must be “new and distinct”; in other words, not covered elsewhere by some more general authorization.

Allow me to examine in particular Bill C-331. With respect to clause 2, it is the government's view that it is in fact the creation and operation of a new permanent museum and that this would obviously impose a new expenditure and therefore require a royal recommendation.

The Parks Canada Agency Act and the Historic Sites and Monuments Act allow the minister to designate a historic place as a national historic site and provide the minister with the powers to designate them by means of plaques or, with the approval of the governor in council, establish historic museums.

Establishing a new museum, as is contemplated in this legislation, is potentially a very expensive undertaking. The Department of Canadian Heritage estimates that building a new museum would cost up to $6.5 million, plus the considerable ongoing costs to maintain the exhibit and the building and provide the appropriate staff.

The royal recommendation that accompanied the original legislation authorized expenditures for the purposes, manner and cases provided for in that bill. Any new cases, we would argue, would require a new royal recommendation.

The intent to limit expenditures for new museums is further made clear by subsection 3(c) of the Historic Sites and Monuments Act that I referred to earlier, which limits the power of the minister to establish a museum by requiring the approval of the governor in council. The royal recommendation for that bill only applied to the establishment of new museums authorized by the governor in council.

Bill C-331 would oblige the minister to establish a new museum without the approval of the governor in council. This alone is an expenditure, in our view, outside the scope of the existing legislation. The case for a royal recommendation is made even stronger by the signal that the original legislation itself contemplated the Crown's control of expenditures under this part.

Turning now to clause 3 of that legislation, the Speaker noted that the restitution provisions in the bill are contingent on the successful completion of a negotiation process.

I would like to draw the following issues to your attention, Mr. Speaker, in seeking further clarification from you on this point and to further clarify the government's position in the hope that you will reflect on that issue with renewed vigour and insight.

There are two issues at hand: first, whether the bill imposes a new expenditure that is not covered by the existing statutes, and second, the issue raised by the Speaker, if the expenditure is in fact conditional on the outcome of negotiations, whether a royal recommendation is also necessary.

On the first question, clause 3 of the bill requires the minister to negotiate a restitution payment and prescribes the activities that the payment “shall” be applied to. In our view, this is clearly a positive obligation imposed on the Crown. The wording of this clause clearly imposes a new expenditure. The word “shall” cannot be attributed to anything other than a positive obligation to expend money.

While the outcome of the negotiation may be unknown, it could be argued that the bill requires a “non-zero” outcome, as the bill itself explicitly requires that a payment be made as the outcome of the negotiations. What is hypothetical is simply the amount of the payment.

On the first question, a new charge is created by the bill, and so in our view, a royal recommendation is needed.

On the second question, even if the outcome in terms of the amount is hypothetical, Erskine May indicates that a recommendation is still required, by stating:

The same applies to a totally new legislative purpose which imposes only a potential liability on public expenditure. For example, the argument cannot be sustained that a proposal to confer on a Minister a discretionary power to expend money in certain circumstances escapes the need for a Money resolution because the circumstances may not arise or the discretion may not be exercised.

I would also draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the government's position that we have the same concerns with respect to another bill before the House, Bill C-333, which was debated for its first hour in this place yesterday, I believe.

That bill specifies that the redress agreement “shall consist” of the establishment of a foundation and other educational projects, which makes clear that an expenditure of funds is also required by that bill, even if the amount of the expenditure is to be determined by negotiation. We view that as another positive obligation.

I am concluding by saying that the addition of the words “to be proposed to Parliament for approval” does not in fact solve the situation, since it is clearly this bill which places an obligation as well on an expenditure for the government. Whether or not Parliament ultimately approves the specific agreement does not change the fact that it is this instrument which creates the new charge.

In conclusion, our view is that a royal recommendation is required for both the creation of a new museum and the negotiation of any restitution payments, a negotiation, as I said, which does not contemplate whatsoever a non-payment by the Crown.

When one considers these questions, Mr. Speaker, it may be instructive to ask yourself, if these bills had been proposed by the government would a royal recommendation have been attached? I hope you will agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that the answer to that question is yes, and therefore in this case a royal recommendation is also required.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

February 22nd, 2005 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking the Chair for a ruling that the restitution provision of Bill C-331 does not require a royal recommendation. The Chair has questioned the clause that proposes the establishment of a museum at the site of one of the World War I internment camps. The concern is that the establishment would require public funds.

After lengthy consultation with the Ukrainian community in Canada, both the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, let me assure the Chair that no new museum is being requested in Bill C-331. No extraordinary financial commitments are being requested. Therefore, I believe Bill C-331 is not a money bill and does not require a royal recommendation.

Allow me to explain how the idea of the museum came about in the bill. During the last session of Parliament the former heritage minister, the hon. Sheila Copps, instructed her department to meet and discuss ways to deal with the Ukrainian redress issue. A number of meetings took place and progress was made. This process was terminated with the call of the general election.

The museum idea was a proposal discussed at these meetings. As you know, Mr. Speaker, Ukrainian internee labour was used to build much of the Banff infrastructure. The proposed museum would be housed in an existing facility that is currently maintained by Parks Canada as an office complex storage area at Cave and Basin in Banff National Park, formerly known as the Old Tea Shoppe building.

This structure's first floor would be cleared out and Parks Canada would continue to have access and use the lower basement level. The first level would be reconstituted as a meeting place, for education, commemoration and reflection for the exclusive use of the Ukrainian Canadian community in perpetuity. This facility would include a small meeting area, a permanent exhibit about the internment operations, the current washroom facilities and some office space, as well as a small chapel and place of reflection. As well, the existing exhibit information about the internment operations in the Cave and Basin centre would be expanded.

Parks Canada would maintain the existing facilities as part of its annual budget for the Cave and Basin Banff National Park, as it does now, ensuring proper security, heating, maintenance and the like. As this function is already performed by Parks Canada and is included in its annual operating budget, no additional funds would be required. As the proposed place of reflection and commemoration would only be used on a irregular basis by the community and not normally open to the public, its maintenance would not require any extraordinary expenditures.

Design, development and reconfiguration of the first floor area to meet the requirements of the Ukrainian Canadian community would be undertaken in consultation with Parks Canada and any other relevant government ministries to ensure the heritage integrity of the building.

The costs of any restructuring of the internal space of this building to meet the needs of the community would be paid for from funds coming to the community as a result of a calculation of the contemporary value of that portion of the wealth confiscated from the internees that was not returned, a figure to be arrived at by government forensic accountants and economists in consultation with the designated representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian community. The community expects to be involved in negotiations with the appropriate federal government authorities as anticipated in Bill C-331 to determine the appropriate level of symbolic restitution.

These details have previously been discussed in meetings initiated by the former minister of Canadian heritage, the hon. Sheila Copps, and communicated to the senior members of that government department and others.

In closing, no new museum is being requested. No extraordinary financial commitments are being requested. In the view of the Ukrainian community, Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, is not, therefore, a money bill and should be voted and discussed in the House of Commons.

If Bill C-331 is successful and is sent to committee for further study, the committee may amend or delete this clause if it is the will of the committee. At this time, Bill C-331 has already received one hour of debate. It would be a great disappointment to the one million Ukrainian Canadians if Bill C-331 was ruled out of order.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2004 / 6:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the New Democratic Party in support of Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, introduced by the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette. I want to commend him for his persistence in getting the bill on to the floor of the House this time around. I also want to commend my colleague from Vaudreuil-Soulanges for her speech this evening.

The bill seeks justice for Ukrainian Canadians and other Europeans from the former Austro-Hungarian empire who were imprisoned in special internment camps in Canada during World War I. It is a group of about 9,000 people. The bill calls on the federal government to acknowledge the injustice that was done and to provide restitution for those imprisoned.

The bill mirrors a motion passed 11 years ago in the House, a motion that was proposed by the member for Kingston and the Islands. It is unfortunate that Bill C-331 is still necessary, given the unanimous consent that the 1991 motion received in the House.

At the outset of World War I the War Measures Act was implemented and almost 9,000 people in Canada were deemed enemy aliens, rounded up and forced into internment camps. More than 5,000 of them were Ukrainians who had immigrated to Canada. Another 88,000 Ukrainians in Canada were required to report regularly to police and security authorities during that period.

Between 1914 and 1920, two years after the end of the first world war, these people were held in 24 internment camps. They were forced to do heavy labour under trying conditions. Their assets were seized and they were subjected to state sanctioned persecution.

Never at any time was any evidence presented to show that Ukrainian Canadians were a threat to Canada. In fact, Britain had even advised Canada in 1914 that Ukrainians should be considered friendly aliens.

The bill does not seek direct compensation for the victims of the internment operation, but rather it recommends educational and commemorative measures. We must preserve the memory of these events. Our collective memory of the experience of Ukrainian Canadians here in Canada will help call us to make sure that we never again repeat that mistake as a nation.

Bill C-331 calls for commemorative plaques to be installed at the 24 camps. These plaques would describe the events that took place in the history of the internment. It also recommends a museum be created in Banff National Park, which was the site of one of the largest internment camps.

The park infrastructure of that beautiful natural site was partially built by forced labour. When observing the natural wonders of Canada, one should be reminded of the contribution made by the interned Ukrainian Canadians.

This museum would provide information on the operation of the camp and would acknowledge the role that Ukrainian Canadians played in the building of Canada, then and now.

Bill C-331 also recommends a restitution payment be made to compensate for the confiscation of property and assets from Ukrainian Canadians. Much was taken from them, but not all the confiscated wealth was returned.

This payment would be used to develop and produce educational materials that fight racial intolerance and discrimination, which would be distributed to schools and universities. The materials should reflect and promote the values of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, broad on the understanding of other religions and cultures and ultimately protect Canadians from future injustices. Other educational projects could be developed in consultation with the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

In addition, a set of commemorative stamps would be issued. This would serve again to keep the memory alive and to ensure that such unjust treatment never takes place on Canadian soil again.

Finally, the bill calls for a review of the Emergencies Act by the Minister of National Defence who must report back to the House with possible legislative changes that would prevent similar atrocities in the future.

In this post-9/11 world where security concerns are top of mind for many Canadians and for our government, I find this point particularly resonant. We must not implement draconian security measures at the expense of the rights and dignity of people, based on ethnicity, country of origin or religious belief.

I wish I could stand here today and be clear that we had learned from our mistakes. I fear, however, with our security certificate process and the detention of some Canadians and people in Canada, of special rules for evidence and special trials that are now allowed in Canada, that we are travelling down that road once again. I fear that racial profiling of some Canadians is taking us there yet again.

I am concerned that proposals to allow for the revocation of Canadian citizenship will set up a system where there are two classes of Canadian citizenship. I am glad that the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has spoken very clearly to that particular issue and the proposals that were made in the past.

These are all issues that demand our attention in light of the experience of Ukrainian Canadians. Should the bill pass, these are all issues that might be addressed in the kind of educational work that would be undertaken.

Canadians rightly take pride in the multicultural nature of our society. At the same time we recognize that we have not always treated all groups equally. We must not forget the Japanese internment during World War II, for which an apology has been made and redress has been negotiated.

We must not forget the experience of Chinese Canadians who were forced to pay a head tax and were subjected to the Asian Exclusion Act. I hope that Parliament will soon address the matter of redress for those who paid the Chinese head tax. Justice must finally be done for Chinese Canadians as well.

We have seen the War Measures Act used against our citizens in other troubling ways in 1970.

I understand that there is only one Ukrainian Canadian who was detained and is still alive today. Mary Manko Haskett was detained at the Spirit Lake internment camp in Quebec. I was moved by a plea written by her in 1994. One of the things she wrote about was how Spirit Lake camp no longer appeared on maps of Canada. She was unable to show her children and grandchildren where it was on a map of Canada.

At the same time Mrs. Haskett was in detention, another Ukrainian Canadian was fighting in Europe as a member of the Canadian armed forces. Philip Konowal was born in Ukraine in 1887 and immigrated to Canada in 1913. In August 1917 he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during battle in France. Mr. Konowal returned to Canada and became an employee of the House of Commons, where he served until his death in 1959. Commemorative plaques honouring Mr. Konowal can be found here in Ottawa, Toronto and New Westminster, B.C. It is indeed ironic that while so many Ukrainian Canadians were being held in internment camps here in Canada, Mr. Konowal was distinguishing himself as an outstanding member of Canada's armed forces in Europe.

We have a choice. We can allow our collective memory to fade about the internment of Canadians, becoming like the map that no longer shows the location of Spirit Lake camp, or we can remember and celebrate the many contributions of Ukrainian Canadians to our country, people like Mr. Konowal.

We must take steps to ensure that this troubling part of our history is remembered, that restitution is made, and that through remembering and rededicating ourselves to ensuring basic human rights for all Canadians, that it is not repeated. That is how I understand the goals of Bill C-331.

I am pleased to reiterate the NDPs support for the bill. We were committed to the bill's previous incarnation in the 37th Parliament. As well, we made our support for redress for Ukrainian Canadians imprisoned during World War I very clear during the recent federal election campaign.

We believe that Parliament and the government should act now to acknowledge and preserve the memory of this and other shameful incidents in our history. Let us ensure that this unfortunate episode is not repeated, that no other ethnic or religious minority ever suffers as Ukrainian Canadians once did. As we do so, let us celebrate the many contributions of Ukrainian Canadians to our country.

In recent weeks members of the House and indeed people all across Canada and around the world have been following events in Ukraine very closely. We have expressed our concerns and our hopes about fair elections and democracy in Ukraine. This legislation gives us the chance to show Canadians and people around the world that we as a nation can face up to the challenges and shortcomings of our own history and that we seek to ensure that justice, equality and freedom are enjoyed by all Canadians.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2004 / 6 p.m.
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Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker , since Bill C-331 concerns Ukraine, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all those Ukrainians currently fighting for the sake of their democracy to continue this difficult struggle.

The freedom of peoples is not easily achieved. This is why I want to reiterate the support of the Bloc Québécois for all those who are currently defending their right to democracy. In 2004, every nation should be able to choose its own government. The will of the people must not be thwarted by pressure or fraud.

I would also like to congratulate the Parliament of Canada for the second time in as many weeks, since, once again, it is about to correct an error it made in the past. Last week, it concerned an error in judgment regarding legislation made 25 years ago. Today, even if the events in question go back more than 90 years, it corrects behaviour unworthy of a democratic society.

At the beginning of the 20th century, history witnessed great victories, but also some darker days. Today, we must reflect on one of those days. I do not by any means want to forget the brave soldiers who went to fight in Europe. They stood tall on one of the toughest fronts in history. They gave their lives for loftier ideals than the world itself, and we should never forget that.

Bill C-331 is about the plight of over 5,000 poor people who fled abject living conditions and immigrated to Canada 10 to 20 years before the 1914-18 events. These people were later interned in labour camps during World War I. Through an order in council, the status of those who did not have their certificate of naturalization was changed. They became “foreign enemies”, because their territory of origin was under the control of the Austro-Hungarian empire. They were no longer just Ukrainians, people in exile, as they had been when they arrived here. They had become Austrians, and Austria was an enemy of Canada.

We understand that, throughout this painful period, Canada respected its international commitments on the treatment of prisoners of war. We do not share the view that these people were indeed prisoners of war. We really wonder why these camps were maintained until 1920, considering that the war had ended a couple of years earlier. However, taking cover behind treaties and conventions does not excuse the fact that the treatment given to these people was unworthy of a democratic country. The events for which Canada is blamed should be recognized. To forget them is to risk repeating them again.

I remind hon. members that these prisoners were subject to hard labour, rations and curfews. They were not only prisoners of war; they were forced to work. They were interned in labour camps and deprived of their freedom. The Canadian government really took advantage of them. It used these helpless people to build or repair houses, to clear land, build drains, construct roads between properties and public roads, etc. These people were forced to work hard and they were shamelessly used by Canada. It is high time the government acknowledges this blemish on Canada's record.

I want to remind the House that we did not imprison them because they were fighting against our troops, overseas or at home, because there has never been a single battle between these enemies and the state that took them prisoner.

We took them prisoner because they were from the Austro-Hungarian empire and because they had Austrian passports. Can we blame people, who never had the chance to choose their own destiny, for the colour of their passports? We think not, and that is why we feel that Bill C-331 is logical.

Furthermore, we accepted these people who were fleeing hardship and had come here in search of a better life, as immigrants. Ukrainians were an integral part of the immigration plan back then. We opened our doors to them and then we put them in prison. We told them, “come” and then we told them to “work”, at the end of a gun. To us, this is a perfect example of how absurd Canada's immigration policies are.

The Bloc Québécois condemns and regrets the way Canada treated Ukrainians but we are proud to take part in a debate on a bill that seeks to remedy the inexplicable behaviour of a country that, even then, considered itself open and modern.

We join all those who wish to reinstate their personal names, the name of the Canadian government, and who want to say sorry for this unworthy decision adopted by order in council. We ask all the members of this House to support in principle Bill C-331.

It is never too late to learn from our mistakes, to confess and set them right. Parliament has an opportunity today it should not miss. We implore it to do more than the small tourism plaques affixed here and there among the national parks. This is the best thing it has done to date to remedy this enormous error in judgment with regard to an innocent people. It is an insult.

We put our guests in labour camps and we subjected them to hard labour. That is called slavery.

Slavery in the 20th century, in any country, is too serious an issue to pretend it never existed. I defy any member of this House to dare to deny that. Turning a deaf ear for 90 years is already a crime in itself. It is time to tell the whole world that Canada does not agree with decisions it made in the past.

Ukrainians were not an enemy nation: they were invited. We welcomed them as they were, truly welcomed them. We gave them land and the right to work and settle, and then we took those things away. The labour camps were something you might find in a fascist state, not a free and democratic nation. The disgraceful and abominable treatment of a nation of invited immigrants, might, in other times and places, attract much more serious punishment and much greater consequences. We think the Canadian government has a golden opportunity to come out of this with its head held high. We ask the government to support this bill and recognize what it means.

This Parliament could, at least, take responsibility for past actions. The federal parliament must recognize the wrongs that have been done to the Ukrainian community.

Members of this House, fellow MPs, let us not repeat the errors of the past again. When we invite people in with open arms, let us not treat them as second-class citizens. Let us not offer them the privilege of becoming citizens but recognize their full right to citizenship. Let us agree to recognize our affront to the Ukrainians. Let us be the hosts we claim to be. Let us not invite people in with one hand and wave them away with the other. Let us show that we are worthy of a society with 400 years of shared history. Let us offer our wealth to everyone who, because of the twists of fate, have not had the same opportunities we have had here in North America.

Canada must live up to the ideals it proclaims. It must be able to recognize when it has made errors that contradict these ideals. In order for history not to repeat itself, we must seize every opportunity. This is a great one. It is a start. Recognizing the wrongs of the past is a way to make it possible to head into the future in justice and serenity.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2004 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Vegreville--Wainwright for seconding the motion.

It is a great honour today to rise to debate Bill C-331, an act to recognize the injustice of the Ukrainian internment. Bill C-331 has been tabled in the House three times but never debated.

Madam Speaker, I welcome the information on the bill that you have presented this evening.

The first time the whole issue of Ukrainian redress was debated was through a motion in September 1991 that was put forward by the member for Kingston and the Islands. This motion received support from all parties but had no effect on the government.

How did Bill C-331 come about? Bill C-331 was put together through collaboration with the Ukrainian community in Canada, which today numbers close to one million. It is supported by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

At this time I want to thank the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Paul Grod, for his support. I want to thank the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association chairman, John Gregorovich, and Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk and Borys Sydoruk. I also want to thank the president of the Taras Shevchenko Foundation, Andrew Hladyshevsky. There are also thousands of other Canadians of Ukrainian descent who have worked very hard over the last two decades.

Bill C-331 is in essence a bill that belongs to the Ukrainian community of Canada. The Ukrainian community in Canada has been calling for redress for internment for over 20 years. That is a long time. Most of that time, this call has fallen on deaf ears. There have been numerous broken promises throughout the last two decades, promises made by politicians, the people who sit in this House.

The most famous promise was made by our former prime minister, Jean Chrétien. In fact, tonight I want to read for the House a letter that he wrote to Mr. Thor Bardyn, the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in June 1993, when Mr. Chrétien was leader of the official opposition. He stated:

Dear Mr. Bardyn:

Thank you for your letter and the copies of the “Economic Losses of Ukrainian Canadians Resulting from Internment During World War I” and “Submissions on Behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian Community on the Matter of Redress for Non-Pecuniary Losses Occasioned by Internment and Other State-Inflicted Injuries.”

The Liberal Party understands your concern. As you know, we support your efforts to secure the redress of Ukrainian-Canadians' claims arising from their internment and loss of freedom during the First World War and Inter-war period. You can be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation closely and seek to ensure that the government honours its promise.

As Leader of the Opposition, I appreciate the time you have taken to write and bring your concerns to my attention.

Sincerely,

Jean Chrétien.

Jean Chrétien as prime minister had many opportunities to deal with Ukrainian redress over his three terms as prime minister.

Obviously he learned nothing from the settlement of the Japanese redress settled by the Mulroney government previous to that. The Mulroney government did the right and responsible thing and brought resolution to the Japanese redress. In fact, I was told that during that time period there were no private members' bills or motions debated in the House on Japanese redress. Yet the government of the day knew what the right thing was and did the right thing.

Let me take some time to talk about the internment, because many of us in this country, and I include myself, did not learn about the internment of the Ukrainians. I did not learn of it until I became a member of Parliament back in 1997. This is not recorded in our history books. It is an event that no one knows about. Obviously the government of the day wanted it to be wiped out. As Canadians, we want to know our history. We need to learn from history. That is why it is important to acknowledge and recognize that the history actually took place.

Bill C-331 calls for that recognition. I must emphasize again that it is a recognition of and not an apology for “the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the First World War and to provide for public commemoration and for restitution”, which really means the return of properties confiscated by the government of the day. In other words, at that time the private property of the internees was confiscated by the Government of Canada. To this very day it has not been returned. That is what restitution means.

That restitution amount, whatever may be negotiated, is to be devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance and the role of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That sounds Canadian. It sounds rational and it makes sense.

In other words, Bill C-331 calls for two things to be done.

One is acknowledgement that this internment took place and is part of Canadian history. We in this country cannot run away from our history. We must accept our history. We must accept the past. We have to accept the past; we cannot change it.

Another point, too, is that the government of the day must sit down with the Ukrainian community and work out the establishment of an education foundation for the purpose of telling the internment story to all Canadians so that hopefully this story and this history, this negative event, will not be repeated in the future. That is the main purpose, the main drive behind this redress issue.

It is time for the government to bring resolution to all redress issues. Is it not ironic that the government of the day will be sending up to 500 observers to Ukraine and is willing to pay the bill to ensure that democracy will be protected in Ukraine?

I support the government's decision. There is nothing wrong with it. Yet at the same time the government continues to deny that democratic rights were taken from the Ukraine community in Canada between 1914 and 1920, when over 88,000 Ukrainians were made to register like common criminals. They had to report monthly to the police and have their registration card stamped. Over 9,000 were interned. They were put in prison camps; internment is just a nice word for prison camps. In fact, they had it worse than prisoners of war because under the Geneva convention a country cannot force prisoners of war to work, to do domestic labour, which is actually slave labour, at no cost to the country.

Over 9,000 people were interned, of which over 5,000 were Ukrainian Canadians. The government has run out of excuses after two decades of denial. The internment of Ukrainians in Canada is a historic fact. I asked the question of the government, “Is acknowledging this too much to ask?”

It is time for the government to do the responsible thing and to acknowledge this historic wrong. I am sure that most Canadians would agree with me. It is time to deal with this issue and other redress issues.

The responsible thing is the acknowledgement, as well as working out a resolution with the Ukraine community. This is a matter of justice. After all, we Canadians like to see ourselves as a just society. In fact, we brag all over the world that we are a country based on rules, justice, tolerance and acceptance. Maybe it is time that we accept our own history for what it is and learn from it.

Justice is long overdue for the Ukraine community in Canada, which is one million strong. I know I am starting to run out of time so I will read for the House a poem written by Kari Moore of Victoria, B.C. A couple of summers ago, this poem was put on a plaque dedicated to the internees at a memorial park on the site of Canada's national Ukrainian festival. The name of the poem is Internment . It really tells the story:

With this commemorative plaque

We confer upon you the honour

Of paying the ultimate price.

The price of losing your freedom

In a country that invited you

And promised you work and freedom.

You laboured with a pickaxe and shovel

In the neighbouring mines and forests

Laying the rails for transport

Of your days' work to help the economy.

Then history changed your world,

Overnight you became an enemy alien

To be feared and unjustly interned.

If history could repeat itself

You could tell us your shame

And your unimagined confusion.

You still worked with an axe and shovel

But from behind a barbwire fence.

And for years you carried the stigma

Of becoming an unwanted citizen.

This plaque shall stand in your memory

And serve as an educational tool

To remember this part of our dark history,

And assure us that future Canadian governments

With the stroke of a pen shall not

Again put any citizen behind a barbwire fence.

I close by thanking all members who are taking part in this first hour of debate on Bill C-331 for their support.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2004 / 5:30 p.m.
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The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jean Augustine)

Before beginning private members' business I would like to read a ruling on Bill C-331, an act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the First World War and to provide for public commemoration and for restitution which is to be devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance.

The Chair has examined Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, to determine whether its provisions would require a royal recommendation and thus prevent the Chair from putting the question at third reading.

The Chair has considered the restitution provisions in this bill and has concluded that they do not require a royal recommendation as any payment is contingent on the successful completion of a negotiation process, the details of which are hypothetical at this point.

There is, however, a question in my mind about the clause that proposes the establishment of a museum at the site of one of the first world war internment camps.

At first glance, it appears to me that to build, maintain and staff even a small museum would require public funds. Since the necessity for a royal recommendation can be a complex question, I am raising the issue at this moment in order to invite the sponsor of the bill and any other members interested in the matter to make a submission to the Chair explaining their views on whether or not this bill requires a royal recommendation.

I want to give hon. members enough time to look into the matter. I would suggest that interested members contact the private members' business office to schedule their interventions.

I have asked these officials to coordinate such submissions, so that they can take place before the bill is next debated, thus allowing the Chair time to consider their arguments when making a ruling at the resumption of the second reading debate.

Today the debate on the motion for second reading will begin. We will now proceed as scheduled.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActPrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2004 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

moved that Bill C-331, an act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the First World War and to provide for public commemoration and for restitution which is to be devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActRoutine Proceedings

October 12th, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.
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The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent that the bill be numbered Bill C-331?

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution ActRoutine Proceedings

October 12th, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-331, an act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the First World War and to provide for public commemoration and for restitution which is to be devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance.

Mr. Speaker, first let me thank the member for Kildonan—St. Paul for her support of the bill.It is a great honour to table the bill on behalf of the one million Canadians of Ukrainian descent. This is the third time this bill has been tabled. It was formerly known as Bill C-331. It is long overdue. A number of prime ministers have come and gone over two decades, but Canadians of Ukrainian descent are still looking for justice to deal with the internment of Ukrainians. It is time that the government and Parliament dealt with this issue.

Mr. Speaker, you may well remember that when you first came to this House your motion on the very same issue was put on this floor for debate and received huge support. In closing, I ask that you seek unanimous consent to have the bill numbered Bill C-331, as it was formerly known.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)