UCCLA, For Immediate Release (25 November 2005) - Calgary/Toronto
A private member's initiative, Bill C-331 - The Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act, tabled by Inky Mark, MP (Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette) was passed yesterday by the House of Commons and today by The Senate of Canada, with unanimous consent. Following Royal Assent by The Governor General of Canada the bill will become law.
Commenting on this remarkable and historic achievement the chairman of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Mr John Gregorovich, said:
"For many years Inky Mark has demonstrated his commitment to righting an historic wrong, the needless imprisonment of thousands of innocent Ukrainians and other Europeans during Canada's first national internment operations of 1914-1920. While many refused to accept what happened, or tried to ignore or dismiss its importance in Canadian history, Mr Mark steadfastly insisted upon seeing justice done and today that goal has been achieved. We are all very grateful to him for his perseverance, for his commitment to human rights and civil liberties and to those in all of the parties represented in the House of Commons and Senate of Canada who supported his efforts over the past few years, and during the last few days in particular. Now that Bill C 331 has been passed we hope the Government of Canada will honour its pledge to recognize officially what happened to Ukrainian Canadians during this particularly unhappy episode in our country's past and to complete the negotiations on redress. Thankfully this Bill was passed while the last known survivor of the internment operations, Mary Manko, is still alive and able to witness to this critical step forward toward closure and reconciliation."