January 26, 2001
Mr. Eugene Czolij
Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Dear Mr. Czolij,
The purpose of this letter is to put forward on behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation some views on the issue of internment. These were first advanced about a year ago during a UCC Government Issues teleconference. As you will recall, I recently requested UCC's position on this matter; I have yet to receive it, although, I might add, the opportunity to advance it with influencial persons has been exercised without the benefit of UCC's views. You will agree, I'm sure, that the Ukrainian Canadian community deserves a most thoroughly considered approach, and one which needs to be presented to the Government of Canada to ensure proper consideration and closure.
The UCPBF acknowledges the initiative and commitment of UCCLA that took the lead in bringing this issue to the public's attention. I believe that our position reflects most of its views on the issue.
INTERNMENT and CANADA'S RESPONSE: UCPBF CONSIDERATIONS
In addressing the injustice perpetrated on individuals of the Ukrainian Canadian community through internment and the confiscation of private property; and in order to set right its own record in this regard, the government of Canada might wish to consider a three-level approach to address the past wrongs.
The benefits of this approach will be a rapprochement with the Ukrainian community in Canada; a redress package that contributes to the better understanding of Canadian diversity and tolerance; and acknowledges, wherever possible, to the individuals involved or their descendents, the wrong-doings of the past.
Also, it will serve to remind the government and the rest of us that opportunities to commit injustice are not restricted to the past but are ever present and that in no way should today's political expediency perpetrate injustices for tomorrow's redress.
With such a focus in mind the government might wish to re-examine
But to the point. The internment of Ukrainians in Canada redress strategy might comprise :
1/ Compensation that will serve all Canadians
2/ Compensation that will serve Ukrainian Canadians
3/ Compensation that will serve the individual
In order to see its decisions carried out, the government might wish to consider creating a foundation or trust to administer the funds and oversee the implementation of such a strategy.
With warm regards,
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn