Friday 22 August 2014

Internment of Ukrainians in Canada

With Dr. Karen Lemiski,
curator of the Basilian Fathers Museum, Mundare, Alberta
Vatican Radio’s Christopher Wells spoke with Fr Athanasius McVay, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest from Canada, and an expert in early 20th-century ecclesiastical history. Fr McVay says that, in addition to the positive commemorations of the men and women who sacrificed themselves during the war, it is important also to remember the victims of the war, at home and abroad. “Alongside the brave soldiers who gave their lives, there were our own Canadian citizens and immigrants… who were deprived of their civil rights, and many were interned in internment camps during the war.”
During the war, he says, it was “not so much the government, but the general population, [that] became very suspicious and fearful.” Although the government needed to take steps to ensure there was no activity that could be detrimental to the war effort or the morale at home, Fr McVay says, “I think it’s generally recognized today that they exceeded their mandate, because the internment was really not necessary, and it was really not caused by anything these people had done.”
Fr McVay says: “These commemorations should be about remembering. History is often called the memory of mankind, and I think that we owe it to history to remember these events and to make some symbolic redress – but to move forward, and learn from our mistakes, and to make a better value world, to promote our Catholic values.”
Christopher Wells interviews Father Athanasius McVay on Internment of Ukrainian-Canadians

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