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Eighth UCCLA conclave delegates express disappointment over lack of redress settlement

Oct. 1, 2007 For immediate release (Montreal, Ottawa)

Delegates from across Canada and a special representative of the Association of Ukrainian Canadians (AUGB), Volodymyr Muzyczka, gathered in Montreal this past weekend for the eighth annual conclave of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA).

On Saturday, 29 September, a trilingual memorial plaque was unveiled in Montreal's Stanley Street YMCA building, recalling the educational and humanitarian aid provided by the YMCA to Ukrainians and other Europeans imprisoned unjustly during Canada's first national internment operations of 1914-1920. Following up on a proposal tabled by Anne Sadelain, a member of the Descendants of Ukrainian Canadian Internees Victims Association (DUCIVA), the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, Ukrainian Canadian Congress and Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko acted to realize this initiative, and so recognize the help. Wreaths were also laid by these organizations and representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian community of Montreal, witnessed by a large audience.

Many UCCLA members voiced their dismay over the lack of any significant progress on securing a redress settlement despite the government's legal obligation to negotiate, as provided for by Bill C 331 – the Internment of Personns of Ukrainian Origin Act, which received Royal Assent 25 November 2005. Letters were posted to the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, and to Mr Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, expressing the Ukrainian Canadian community's disappointment over this situation.

Delegates also were informed about the resignation, 20 August 2007, of Mr John B Gregorovich, from the post of UCCLA’s chairmanship. Commenting, the newly-elected chairman, Dr Lubomyr Luciuk, said:

"Mr Gregorovich has served the Ukrainian Canadian community for decades with great skill and intelligence and has been responsible for many of our successes over those years. He was one of the initiators of the Ukrainian Canadian redress campaign. Understandably frustrated over the lack of any real progress, John decided that he can no longer lead the UCCLA's ongoing campaign to secure justice in this matter."

Other issues discussed included the launch of a campaign aimed at securing information about the presence of alleged Soviet war criminals in North America, providing educational information about the genocidal Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine to school children in Ukraine, further exposing the complicity of New York Times journalist, Walter Duranty, in covering up the Holodomor, and planning for the installation of additional internee plaques across Canada, the next to hopefully be unveiled at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Working with the British Ukrainian community, UCCLA also intends to initiate several projects in the UK to honour the Ukrainian Canadian men and women who served overseas with the Allied forces during the Second World War.