Ukrainian Canadian internment

Ukrainian Canadian Internment

Ukrainian Canadian internment

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The Ukrainian Canadian internment was part of the confinement of "enemy aliens" in Canada during and for two years after the end of the First World War, lasting from 1914 to 1920, under the terms of the War Measures Act that would be used again, in the Second World War, against Japanese Canadians; and in 1970, against some Québécois (during the "October Crisis").

About 4,000 Ukrainian men and some women and children of Austro-Hungarian citizenship were kept in twenty-four internment camps and related work sites – also known, at the time, as concentration camps. Many were released in 1916 to help with the mounting labour shortage. Another 80,000 were registered as "enemy aliens" and obliged to regularly report to the police. Those interned had whatever little wealth they owned confiscated and were forced to work for the profit of their gaolers. They were interned not because of anything they had done but only because of who they were – where they had come from.

Internment

During the First World War, a growing sentiment against "enemy aliens" had manifested itself amongst Canadians. The British government urged Canada not to act indiscriminately against subject nationalities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who were in fact friendly to the British Empire. However, Ottawa took a hard line. These enemy-born citizens were treated as social...
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