November 23, 2005

NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies

Mr. Speaker, I would like it to be clear, because it was very confusing at the time, that 100% of the NDP--

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Parliament of Canada Act
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The Deputy Speaker

There is no confusion. There was no consent.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Parliament of Canada Act
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The House resumed from November 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-380, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (pregnant or nursing employees), be read the second time and referred to a committee.


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The Deputy Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at the second reading stage of Bill C-380 under private members' business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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The Deputy Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed certain bills, to which the concurrence of this House is desired.

It being 6:38 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Message from the Senate
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The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-331, An Act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the First World War and to provide for public commemoration and for restitution which is to be devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.


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The Deputy Speaker

Before the House proceeds to report stage of Bill C-331, I would like to refer hon. members to my ruling of March 21, 2005 at pages 4372 and 4373 of Hansard, in which I determined that Bill C-331, in the form it was then in, required a royal recommendation in order to be put to a vote at third reading. At that time, I said, “If the bill is amended at committee or report stage, the need for a royal recommendation may be removed and a vote may be requested”.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage reported the bill with amendments on November 3. I have examined the report and note that the bill has been amended so as to remove the need for a royal recommendation. Accordingly, Bill C-331 may proceed to a vote at third reading.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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CPC

Inky Mark

Conservative

Mr. Inky Mark (Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, CPC)

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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The Deputy Speaker

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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CPC

Inky Mark

Conservative

Mr. Inky Mark

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, first let me thank the member for Kildonan—St. Paul for seconding the bill and for her continued support of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg.

It is indeed an honour to rise this evening to debate Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, at its final reading.

This is a historic day not only for the over one million Ukrainian Canadians, but also for Canada as a society.

I will not use up all of my allotted time in order that all members and all parties get to speak to Bill C-331 this evening.

It is indeed a miracle that Bill C-331 has made it this far. The question I ask is how did Bill C-331 get this far? Bill C-331 succeeded because there was goodwill and cooperation on the part of many people. I have a lot of people to thank. Getting Bill C-331 to this stage has truly been a team effort.

It was truly a team effort on the part of the Ukrainian community, the Taras Shevchenko Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian Civil Liberties Association and the thousands of Canadians of Ukrainian descent who have worked on this redress issue for over two decades.

It was truly a team effort on the part of the House of Commons, the Liberal government members, the Conservative Party members, the Bloc Party members as well as the NDP members.

We all know that after two decades it is time for the government to resolve this outstanding issue in the history of this country. This bleak event in Canadian history must be recognized and we, as a society, must learn from it. This is an issue of justice denied.

I am honoured to have tabled Bill C-331 three times in the House. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to represent the wishes of the Ukrainian community in Canada.

Passing Bill C-331 demonstrates the mature Canada that people in this country expect. It makes a loud statement that Canada has grown up, that Canada can accept its past, that Canada can learn from its past, that Canada will not repeat this history.

Bill C-331 would never have gotten out of committee without the full cooperation of its members and political parties. I want to thank the heritage minister, the chairman of the heritage committee, the parliamentary secretary, all the party leaders, including my own party leader who spoke at the second reading stage of Bill C-331, and all members of the committee.

All members of the committee involved in this parliamentary process, in fact all members of the House, can surely take credit for the success of Bill C-331. There was political will to do the right thing and that actually happened to help push Bill C-331 to this stage this evening.

It is my hope that in passing Bill C-331, the House of Commons will send a strong signal to this government and to the next government that the people of Canada have spoken and spoken loudly to get on with it and to bring resolution to this issue.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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CPC

Joy Smith

Conservative

Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for persevering with Bill C-331 and for standing up for the Ukrainian community.

Tonight is a historic moment in the House of Commons because all parties have been a part of something that is very good. I applaud the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for taking the leadership.

Could the member please make some comments about the future in terms of what will happen with the bill?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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CPC

Inky Mark

Conservative

Mr. Inky Mark

Mr. Speaker, as we in this chamber know, the probability is high that the House will rise next week, which means that even if the bill passes the House this evening, it will not get consent through the Senate.

Even with that, we have reached a point of success that is miraculous, as the bill has been tabled three times and the Ukrainian community in Canada has struggled for over two decades to find resolution to their redress issues.

I must repeat that I believe if the House has the will to pass the bill this evening, it certainly will send a strong message to this government and the next government that the country is speaking and that this issue cannot continually drag on. Issues like these must be resolved. The government must bring resolution to this issue.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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LIB

Larry Bagnell

Liberal

Hon. Larry Bagnell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your good work over this session.

I thank the member both for his speech and for leaving me some time because I wanted to get my speech of support in too. I think this is great. I wonder if the member could comment on reparation in general, not just for this particular group. The fact is that we are doing a number of these and there are a number of them to do. Could he talk about the whole philosophy? Someone approached me on that question so I would like the member to speak to that in general.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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CPC

Inky Mark

Conservative

Mr. Inky Mark

Mr. Speaker, I must thank the government members and committee members for taking a very broad approach to the bill. Certainly they easily could have defeated the bill in committee, but realizing that there are other issues following this redress issue that need to be resolved, there is no doubt that the way the bill has been crafted it certainly could become a template for other communities in Canada to follow. I certainly believe that if we pass the bill it will be used as a template down the road for other groups.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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LIB

Sarmite Bulte

Liberal

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women and Minister responsible for Industry (Women Entrepreneurs), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking the hon. member for his bill and his cooperation at committee. We have been able to finally address a very important issue, an issue that struck at the hearts of all committee members. I want to thank him for his tremendous determination and hard work in this regard. I am so pleased to see that we are finally at third reading today.

Canada's experience with diversity distinguishes it from most other countries. Our 30 million inhabitants reflect a cultural, ethnic and linguistic makeup found nowhere else on the earth. Over 200,000 immigrants a year from all parts of the globe continue to choose Canada, drawn by its quality of life and its reputation as an open, peaceful and caring society that welcomes newcomers and indeed values diversity.

From Confederation through the boom years of immigration prior to World War I, to the inter-war years and the current post-war era, our immigration policy and legislation have helped to shape the Canada we have today. Over time, Canadian governments have reflected society's increasing willingness to accept differences within the population and specifically the legitimacy of the rights of minorities to maintain their culture and also their traditions. Throughout our history, there have, however, been instances of laws that would be considered regressive today.

In Canada, the years prior to World War I witnessed heavy immigration from eastern Europe. When war broke out, the country faced a serious problem: what to do with recent immigrants who were citizens of the countries with which Canada was at war.

The problem became quite acute in 1914 when German and Austro-Hungarian nationals resident in Canada were called upon by their respective governments to return home to honour their military draft obligations.

The War Measures Act of 1914 stated in section 6 that:

The Governor in Council may do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada;... it is hereby declared that the powers of the Governor in Council shall extend to all matters coming within the classes of subjects hereinafter enumerated, that is to say....

Among other things were included “arrest, detention, exclusion and deportation” and “appropriation, control, forfeiture and disposition of property and of the use thereof”.

Under orders made pursuant to the War Measures Act, 8,579 people--civilians and prisoners of war--were interned in 26 camps across Canada during the first world war. The internees were composed of a mix of nationalities, including Turkish, Bulgarian, German and Austro-Hungarian. The largest number were from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire, which included Croatians, Czechs, Poles, Serbians and other Europeans. The numbers also included perhaps 5,000 Ukrainians out of an estimated population of about 171,000 of Ukrainian origin in Canada at that time.

From the beginning, internees were treated as prisoners of war and, in keeping with the terms of the Hague convention, received the same standards of food, clothing and accommodations as Canadian soldiers. It is estimated that by the end of the war in 1918 there were only three internment camps remaining in operation. The last camp officially closed in February 1920.

Under the federal Office of the Custodian of Enemy Property, a claims process was adjudicated in the post-war period of World War I and World War II. The government had determined that after World War I some moneys went unclaimed from some internees of Austro-Hungarian empire descent, despite advertisements in mainstream and ethnocultural newspapers.

In 1976, convinced the vast majority of claims had been resolved, the Government of Canada closed this office. As the Hon. Sheila Finestone stated in the House of Commons in 1994:

--as Canadians we are proud that our citizens trace their origins to every part of the world. Together we have built this country on the principles of fairness, generosity and compassion. Our history records the remarkable success we have achieved by applying those principles.

Our history also records that at times we have strayed from them. There have been episodes that have caused suffering to people.

In the crisis atmosphere of war, some Canadian ethnocultural communities found their loyalty questioned, their freedom restrained and their lives disrupted.

Canadians wish those episodes had never happened. We wish those practices had never occurred.

Allow me to continue to quote:

We all share in the responsibility to learn from the past. The Government of Canada believes that our common obligation lies in preventing such situations from ever occurring again.

With that statement in the House, the government adopted a policy on historical redress, which, first, reaffirmed the uniqueness of the Japanese Canadian redress agreement; second, confirmed that no financial compensation would be awarded to individuals or communities for historical events; third, committed to a forward-looking agenda to ensure that such practices did not recur; and fourth, noted that limited and future federal resources would be used to create a more equitable society.

Indeed, the establishment of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation was a signal of federal commitment to eliminate racism and racial discrimination. In this regard, the foundation officially opened its doors in November 1997.

Canada in 2005 is a very different Canada. Tremendous steps have been taken toward making our country a better place. Beginning in 1950 with the report of the Massey-Lévesque commission, ethnocultural diversity gradually came to be understood as an essential ingredient in a distinct Canadian identity.

The Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960 recognized and declared that certain human rights and fundamental freedoms existed, without discrimination on the grounds of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex. In 1970, Canada ratified the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. As a party to the convention, Canada has undertaken to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms.

The Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 proclaimed that all individuals should have equal opportunity with others without being discriminated against on the grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

In 1982, section 15 of the newly adopted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also recognized that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Section 15 came into effect in 1985.

In addition, the multicultural character of Canada gained constitutional recognition in section 27 of the charter. It specified that the courts were to interpret the charter “in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians”. The Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988 affirmed multiculturalism as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society.

We have worked and will continue working with Ukrainian Canadians and other ethnocultural communities to document their history and experiences through a range of commemorative projects, including films, books and exhibits that enable them to tell their stories to other Canadians.

To conclude, I would again like to thank the member for his efforts and his hard work to ensure that the bill will become law. I strongly believe in the need to acknowledge and commemorate the historical events referred to in Bill C-331 as well as educate Canadians about these experiences. No matter how much we might wish to erase these events from the history of our country, today's government cannot, nor can we pay for restitution for historical actions without placing an undue burden on existing and future generations that are in no way responsible for these events.

The Ukrainian community has helped to shape the strong multicultural society we are today. I truly honour the contribution that individuals of Ukrainian descent have made in the building of Canada and I recognize that this contribution was made even in the face of dark moments and great hardship.

It is important that we find an acceptable way to highlight it and educate Canadians about this contribution. I am pleased that Bill C-331 offers us a way forward in doing just that. I encourage all members of the House to support it in its amended form.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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BQ

Meili Faille

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Meili Faille (Vaudreuil-Soulanges, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, Quebec and Canada have been enriched by the men and women of all origins who take different paths to get here, bringing with them their traditions, customs and cultural baggage.

Between 1891 and 1914, Canada recruited agricultural immigrants from eastern Europe, inviting them to settle here and work the land in the Prairie provinces. Approximately 170,000 people immigrated to Canada before the first world war. We salute their contribution to the vitality of Quebec and Canada.

Unfortunately, there are dark days in Canadian history, when the government of the day interned people of Ukrainian origin because they were suspected of espionage and other illegal activities.

Agricultural immigrants got a decidedly colder welcome, particularly after the war broke out. In addition to being interned, Ukrainian immigrants lost their right to vote and the government confiscated their personal property.

In other words, we gave them land, the right to work and a place to live and then, without warning, we took it all away. They worked without pay on the development of Banff national park, in the forestry industry in northern Ontario and in Quebec, in the steel industry and the mines.

Today, the percentage of individuals arriving from different regions of the world continues to increase. This is excellent news, particularly since the latest waves of immigrants are highly educated graduates, who are emigrating in significantly higher numbers.

We are all expected to give them a warm welcome and to help them successfully integrate. We must ensure that they get their fair share of jobs and that they become full citizens as soon as possible.

This bill to render justice to Ukrainians and other Europeans from the former Austro-Hungarian empire who were incarcerated in internment camps during the first world war recognizes that Canada made serious mistakes and that immigration ministers implemented excessive measures.

We must remember what happened. Our collective memory will help us to ensure that we do not make these mistakes again.

During this session, I have spoken many times about citizenship and immigration. Immigration is not just about accountability, it is also about the men and women who want to help build Quebec and Canada. They expect to be treated in a just and equitable manner.

Before claiming victory, and knowing the many problems and inconsistencies in the current immigration policies, allow me again to emphasize to my colleagues in this House and invite them to reflect on the lot and the future of the people they receive. How would they like to be treated if they were in the same situation?

Early in my mandate, I met a great lady whose father is Chinese and mother is Ukrainian. Her father paid the infamous head tax required from Chinese persons and her mother had been unfairly targeted for many years because of immigration decisions that were made at the turn of the century.

She tried to hide her identity for a long time and I think that is very sad. There are many things people still do not know about Canada's history. I hope the steps Parliament is taking in various matters of this nature will comfort the communities concerned.

Bill C-331 has the support of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association. I want to commend and thank those who have supported this cause and worked so hard on it for the past 20 years.

We have heard that Canada respected its international commitments on the treatment of prisoners of war throughout this entire painful experience. We do not share the opinion that this is what they were. We have some serious reservations about why the camps continued to exist until 1920, when the war had ended a long time before. Taking refuge behind treaties and conventions does not, however, excuse the fact that these people were subjected to disgraceful treatment.

Other incidents have been the subject of demands for reparation, and some have been settled. Others are still in progress. To give some examples: the forced assimilation and abuse of aboriginal children in boarding schools from 1847 to 1985; the head tax and the exclusionary legislation on the Chinese from 1885 to 1946; the imprisonment of lepers on two islands off the coast of British Columbia from 1891 to 1956; the unfair treatment of Caribbean blacks from 1900 to 1932; the closing of Canada's borders to persons of Jewish origin between 1938 and 1948; the internment of Italian and German Canadians during the second world war; the internment of Japanese Canadians during and after the second world war, from 1942 to 1949; and, after 1949, the refusal to pay benefits to aboriginal war veterans.

The path to freedom for a people is never easy. For this reason, I will take advantage of this moment to affirm the support of the Bloc Québécois for all those who are defending their liberty and equality at this time.

Anyone wishing to learn more about this subject can consult the Internet site www.infoukes.com, where there are a number of photos and explanatory texts.

Immigration is an increasingly important phenomenon in our society. We must be equal to the ideals we defend. We must be capable of acknowledging errors so that history will not repeat itself.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis

New Democratic Party

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to join in this debate on a very important issue that has been neglected for many years.

I would like to thank the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his perseverance on this issue and for all those who are now prepared to join in and support the passage of the bill to enact this long overdue measure. That is the issue at hand.

Can we as a Parliament put aside our differences? Can we put aside our normal process to ensure that Bill C-331 is actually enacted today?

It must be today because of the amount of time and energy that has been spent on this issue of recognition for a very deplorable time in our history when Ukrainians in Canada were interned because they were under suspicion during World War I.

All of my colleagues in the NDP caucus support the bill. I want to talk today a bit about not only the urgency but the fact that Ukrainian Canadians have contributed so much to our country. Yet, there has been so little done to deal with some very grievous chapters in the history of this country.

One is the internment of Ukrainian Canadians. The other ties into an important anniversary that we just commemorated this past week, and that is the 70th anniversary of the genocide and famine experienced by Ukrainians during the time of Stalin.

Both issues have been before the House. Both issues deserve action and both issues have been waiting for something to be done. There were lots of promises made, lots of attempts to advance the agenda on this, but to date there has been so little progress.

We all recall, leading up to the last election, how this issue that the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette had brought to our attention was going to be addressed by the then Minister of Canadian Heritage. There were great expectations on the part of the Ukrainian community that this would have been carried out and that this chapter in our history would have been dealt with. Unfortunately, we know what happened. The commitment made by the minister at the time was not kept by the government of the day and in fact, we are still trying to resolve this egregious chapter in our history.

On the question of the famine, I want to acknowledge the work of the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette and others who have tried to get this resolved. We still have not had a proper recognition of that tragedy in our history. I want to mention that in Winnipeg, as the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette and others know, great work is being done to get this sorry chapter in our history recognized as part of the new museum on human rights that we hope will be opened in the Forks.

My colleagues from Windsor, the members for Windsor—Tecumseh and Windsor West, have both been a part of a project in their city in establishing the first ever monument to recognize this sorry chapter in our history, that being the famine and genocide during the Stalinist regime. That monument was unveiled in a prominent part of Windsor, in Jackson Park. That has given a focal point for Ukrainians in Canada.

However, we need to do more and we certainly want to see the government recognize all across the country how this awful period in our history came about, and how we have to commit ourselves to prevent genocide and acts of hatred in the future.

With respect to Bill C-331, clearly, it is about recognition for this period in our history, the internment of Ukrainian Canadians. It is also about beginning a period of negotiation and discussion around restitution and settlement. There needs to be some proper recognition for the pain and suffering of individuals during this period of time involving the compensation for confiscated property, and the loss of dignity and wealth that was never returned.

Let us not only recognize this travesty, this sorry chapter in our history, but let us also put our minds and hearts at work to ensure that there is some sort of restitution for this terrible time in our history.

I want to recognize the work of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg. My colleague the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette has done that and has received a lot of support from the Ukrainian Canadian community.

In particular, I want to reference the work that has been done by those who have told the stories and continue to tell the stories across the country. I would like to read for the record one such story that has been circulated to all of us. It was written by Pierre Pawliw. He wrote:

During World War I, my mother, Stephania Mielniczuk, at the age of 3 years was taken along with her parents to the internment camp located at Spirit Lake, in the Abitibi region of Quebec. She never talked about this while I was growing up. In fact, I only learned about it from my aunt that I visited in Poland in 1984. When I asked my mother why she never mentioned it, she told me it was on account that she thought that I, along with her other four children, would think she was some kind of foolish old woman.

What happened to my mother, and to countless other Ukrainians and people of eastern Europe is an integral part of Canada's history. We cannot brush it aside as distorted memories of foolish individuals. We must recognize what happened so that the individuals that labored in these camps be remembered as people who contributed to making Canada a great country.

Those words probably express better than all of the speeches in the House why we must act today, and why we must support the hard work of the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette. Those words express why we must stand together to honour the contribution of Ukrainian Canadians in this country. It has often been said that we cannot go forward until we remember the past. Here is a precise example of just that.

While we are all tidying up loose ends and complete some outstanding work of the House as we will likely proceed to an election in short order, I hope that we can actually take the little time that is necessary to ensure that all stages of Bill C-331 are completed today. I hope that we can put the final stamp of approval on this legislative initiative and ensure that Ukrainian Canadians remember this Parliament as one that stood up for recognition of their contribution to this country.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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CPC

Joy Smith

Conservative

Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour today to rise in the House of Commons in a most historic moment. This is a moment when we are on the soon to be election trail, yet all sides of the House have agreed to the importance of Bill C-331.

I rise today to address this important and unfortunate chapter in Canadian history.

Bill C-331 is an act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent who were interned at the time of the first world war. It will provide for public commemoration and for redress devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance.

I would like to thank my colleague, the Conservative member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, for not only presenting the bill, but for holding the torch high for the people of Ukrainian descent to ensure redress became a reality and to right this historic wrong.

Today in the House of Commons I will concur with what the member across the way from Winnipeg North said. Tonight we need to ensure that the bill is passed, signed, sealed and delivered for the good of our Canadian history and for the good of the people of Ukrainian descent in our country.

Between 1914 and 1920 thousands of loyal Canadians were systematically arrested and interned in 24 camps throughout the country simply because of their national origin. This happened because at the outset of the first world war the western Ukraine was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and at that time Canada was at war with Austria-Hungary.

In the midst of wartime hysteria, people of Ukrainian descent were automatically connected to Austria-Hungary and were deemed to be a threat to our nation. This was a gross mistake that would prove to place a black mark on our Canadian history.

In actual fact, many of the Ukrainian Canadians fled their homeland and were refugees of Canada's wartime enemy, and were not enemies of Canada at all. They were loyal British subjects, allies of our wartime cause. In fact, many who were interned were born in Canada, but bore the wrong name.

When interned, men, women and children were forced to perform hard labour and live in their own homeland of Canada under very trying circumstances.

We cannot rewrite history. Nor can we change the fact that this injustice occurred. However, as heirs of our society we can acknowledge injustice and we can ensure that never again will this be allowed to happen on our Canadian soil.

Again, commend the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his perseverance, for holding his torch high to ensure that this injustice was corrected. To his great efforts, I commend my colleague for his perseverance and for him being able to witness tonight this historic event where all members on all sides of the House will join together to ensure that Bill C-331 is acclaimed.

Our modern history will mark its pages with the heroes of the Orange revolution in Ukraine. It is the recent history that will mark the people of Ukraine and the people of Ukrainian descent in Canada.

I spent my last Christmas in eastern Ukraine in Luhansk, helping with the election which was eventually won by Yuschenko. The beautiful countryside that spread out just 30 kilometres from the Russian border housed the courageous residents of Ukraine. These were people who wanted one thing. They wanted to be able to vote for the leader of their country and vote for whomever they wanted.

I grew to love the people and admire their hard work and dedication to their country. I was amazed when I walked the streets of Kiev and visited with the many people undergoing hardship, again to ensure they sent a message to their government that they wanted to be free to vote for whomever they chose.

The people of Ukraine became the heroes and the leaders of the world because they accomplished something no other nation had been able to achieve, the right to independence, the freedom to vote for whomever they wanted, without shedding one drop of blood.

The people of Ukraine have become my heroes because they are an example to the rest of the world. They are an example of the perseverance that we have seen from the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette. They are an example of the perseverance, the good heart and the hard work that it takes to make things happen.

Under the tents in Kiev, many people underwent hardship, but they had a vision for their country, the same as today where members on all sides of the House have a vision for this bill.

Today in the riding of Kildonan--St. Paul, leaders in Ukrainian communities such as Lesia Swaluk and Ostap Skrypnyk, do much to enhance and support the Ukrainian community, not only in my riding but in my province of Manitoba and throughout the world. They too are part of the courageous heritage that holds the banner high, a heritage that is an example not only to our nation but to the global community.

I support Bill C-311, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, and I am proud to do so. In these turbulent times in the House of Commons, we are able to come together for a common good, and that common good has a leader in the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette who has done much to ensure that the leadership had a very conciliatory genre to it, so in the end this could happen.

It is a miracle, as he said a little earlier, that there has been unanimous consent on all sides of the House to ensure that the bill is passed in the House of Commons and that the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act will give due respect and diligence to the people of Ukrainian descent who were put through so much trauma during the first world war.

This is a good thing tonight. We can all hold our heads high. This will mark the fact that many immigrants and many people who have come to Canada have made up the mosaic of our great nation.

It is with much pride that I have had the opportunity to speak to the bill. I congratulate all members of the House on its success.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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November 23, 2005