For immediate release (Calgary, October 26, 2022)

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) welcomes news that the Government of Alberta has approved UCCLF’s proposal to place a statue on the grounds of Alberta’s provincial Legislature commemorating the unjust internment of Ukrainians and others during and after the First World War.

From 1914 until 1920, egged on by xenophobia and wartime hysteria, the Dominion Government interned some 8,500 men, women and children in a network of 24 camps from coast to coast. A further 80,000 were forced to register regularly with police. Five of the camps were in Alberta: at or near Jasper, Castle Mountain (Banff National Park), Cave & Basin (Banff National Park), Lethbridge, and Munson. The internees were made to log forests, build roads, and construct a portion of Banff’s golf course.

On Oct. 22, during an annual commemoration of Canada’s First National Internment Operations in Calgary, provincial Justice Minister Tyler Shandro announced that his government had okayed the project, proposed by the UCCLF, a registered Canadian charity with a solid history of completing education projects on time and within budget. It will be just the second memorial to WWI internment operations to be located on provincial legislature grounds in Canada (after Manitoba).

“The UCCLF looks forward to working with Nathan Neudorf, Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure, and prominent Alberta artist, Herman Poulin, to have the monument unveiled in the summer of 2023,” said Borys Sydoruk, President of the UCCLF. “This monument will help inform visitors to Alberta’s Legislature, and residents of Edmonton, to the fate that befell thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans who, having been invited to settle Canada, found themselves arrested and interned for immigrating with the ‘wrong’ passport.

“We applaud the Alberta government for its decision to commemorate this dark chapter in Canadian history.”

While the project is approved, funding the monument is just getting underway. To support this unique and worthwhile endeavour, please consider a donation to the UCCLF (links below).