JUNE 20, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, ON – The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and of the Official Opposition, issued the following statement to mark 100 years since the end of Canada’s first national internment operations during the First World War:
“Today marks 100 years since the end of Canada’s first national internment operations during the First World War – a dark period in our country’s history.
“Between 1914 and 1920, almost 8,600 men, women and children were declared ‘enemy aliens’ and interned in one of 24 camps set up across Canada. Among them were Ukrainians, Hungarians, Croatians, Germans, Italians, Romanians, Slovaks, Serbians, Armenians and many others. The majority of those interned were born in the then Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was at war with Canada.
“Many new immigrants who were imprisoned during this time came to the Dominion of Canada in search of better a future for themselves and their families. While thousands of Canadians of Ukrainian origin and those born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire voluntarily enlisted to defend our country, others saw their personal belongings, finances and property confiscated. Sadly nearly 100 internees died before their release.
“Our previous Conservative government officially recognized this historic injustice in 2008 and negotiated a framework agreement with Ukrainian organizations to promote research activities, raise awareness, and educate future generations.
“Today, we remember the innocent lives lost and all those who were impacted.