UCCLA Media Release
For Immediate Release (Calgary/Toronto) - 3 November 2004
The 7th annual conclave of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) was held in Niagara Falls, 28-31 October 2004 with delegates from across Canada and
guests representing the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, as well as a delegation from the newly established Ukrainian
American Civil Liberties Association (UACLA). Together they deliberated various project proposals for the coming year, all intended to further a more pro-active stand in advancing the Ukrainian Diaspora's interests. Among the critical new and approved initiatives is one aimed at identifying Soviet war criminals and bringing them to justice and an intensified campaign intended to get all of the parties in the House of Commons to vote favourably in
support of Bill C 331 - The Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act, due to be debated in Parliament in the near future. The conclave also made modest donations in support of a new
play on the internment operations, Our Home and Native Land, by Dan Ebbs, a ballad by Donna Creighton on the same theme, and committed itself to another internment plaque to
mark the site of the Fernie camp in British Columbia. Special briefings on the trafficking of Ukrainian women, on the activities of Canadians for a Genocide Museum, and on UCC proposals for future collaboration with UCCLA were also heard. Inky Mark, MP (Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette) via teleconference participated in a discussion about ways and
means for advancing the redress issue. Given the minority status of the current Liberal government of Canada, and the pre-election pledges of all three of the opposition parties
in the House (who together control a majority of seats) it is expected that Bill C 331 will be passed, thus bringing this matter to a close, 85 years after the end of the internment operations.
Chaired by John B Gregorovich, this conclave was attended by an even greater number of delegates than last year and a larger than ever youth delegation. Commenting, Mr Gregorovich said:
" UCCLA continues to represent a pro-active force within the Ukrainian Canadian community and it is evident that that is what our people want. The conclave was not only well attended but the average age of our members decreased, exactly the opposite of what is happening with the organizations of yesteryear. We are continuing to successfully engage the support of thousands of Ukrainian Canadians from coast to coast because we are project-driven, evolve new ideas and projects, and put the community's interests forward in the public domain, month after month. This year we were particularly pleased to be able to witness the unveiling of another internment plaque, at the Niagara Falls Armoury, a facility used as a detention camp for Ukrainians and other Europeans throughout the First World War. That both the Mayor of Niagara Falls, His Worship R. T. Salci, and the Honourable Walter Lastewka, MP, were able to bear witness to the installation and consecration of this memorial by our
clergy was particularly welcome, especially Mr Lastewka's remarks, in which he committed to ensuring that our redress claims are finally heard by the Liberal government. As well, this meeting witnessed the birth of a partner organization, the Ukrainian American Civil Liberties
Association (UACLA). That young American Ukrainians are joining us to create a comparable body in the USA is very welcome, for it will help ensure that, over time, our presence and influence throughout North America increase. We are already planning several joint initiatives with UACLA, and hope, next year, to have similar bodies established in Australia and Great Britain, perhaps even in Ukraine."
UCCLA's next conclave will be held in the fall of 2005 in Fernie, British Columbia, where an internment camp was in operation from June 1915 to October 1918.