100 Plaques Commemorate Canadian WWI Internment Operations
August 22, 2014
On Friday, 22 August 2014, Ukrainian Canadians marked the 100th anniversary of the War Measures Act and the resulting establishment of 24 Internment Camps across Canada where “enemy aliens” of Canada were held under conditions of forced labor. Among the many victims were numerous Ukrainian settlers as well as other citizens of Canada whose country of origin was at war with the British Empire.
To mark this sad memorial, 100 plaques were installed at various locations across the nation at 11:00 AM local time, including Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral in Winnipeg. In attendance were representatives from the federal, provincial and civic levels of government.
With a Panakhyda memorial service and the blessing of the memorial Internment Plaque, we remember a sad episode in the history of the Government of Canada and our early Ukrainian settlers of this country. At the start of the First World War in 1914, the Government of Canada enacted the War Measures Act whereby many residents of Canada who had emigrated from countries Canada was at war with, were sent to live in 24 various internment camps across Canada between 1914-1920. This included many of our early Ukrainian settlers – men, women and children – who were labeled “enemy aliens” and sent to live in such labour camps.
We thank the Lord that much has changed over these 100 years and our people have taken their proper place not only in Canadian society, but have risen to notable positions with the government of Canada at various levels.
We should never forget how easy it is for us as a society and as individuals to turn against one’s neighbor who might speak a different language, practice other customs, pray to another god, or who comes from a foreign land. The tragedy of 100 years ago can continue to exist in various forms in our communities even today.
As we pray for the repose of all those who perished in the Canadian internment camps or because of the suffering caused in these camps, let us remember all those throughout the world today who suffer and have died from unjust imprisonment. May the Lord receive them into His arms and grant them eternal rest – Вічна їм пам’ять!
Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, OSBM