Agreement-in-Principle to Highlight Ukrainian Canadian Contribution to Building Canada
REGINA, August 24, 2005 -- The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, and the Honourable Raymond Chan, Minister of State (Multiculturalism), today announced an historic agreement-in-principle with the Ukrainian Canadian community. The agreement is a first step in articulating a shared vision for the acknowledgement, commemoration, and education of Canadians on the experiences of Ukrainians who were affected by the War Measures Act in Canada during the First World War, and in highlighting the contributions that Ukrainian Canadians have made to building Canada.
This agreement-in-principle is part of the Acknowledgement, Commemoration, and Education (ACE) Program; a three-year, $25 million program first announced in the February 2005 budget. The agreement provides an initial amount of $2.5 million to the Ukrainian Canadian community, subject to the finalization of Program details.
"Although we cannot rewrite history, we can learn from the past and make sure that such incidents never happen again," said Prime Minister Martin. "The Government of Canada believes that the best way to do this is to concentrate our efforts and resources toward building a more inclusive and cohesive society, one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all its citizens and embraces the values of equality and multiculturalism."
"I am proud that we have been able to reach an agreement-in-principle with the Ukrainian Canadian community," said Minister of State Chan. "This agreement-in-principle is only the beginning, and the Government of Canada will continue to work with the Ukrainian Canadians and other affected communities to help them identify and bring forward proposals that educate Canadians about their historical experiences and promote cross-cultural understanding."
Mr. Paul M. Grod, Vice-President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Mr. Andrew Hladyshevsky, President of the Shevchenko Foundation, and Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, signed the agreement-in-principle on behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian community.
"Subsequent educational, research and cultural initiatives will help teach future generations of Canadians about this episode in our national history", said representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian community. "Hopefully, that will ensure that no other ethnic, racial or religious minority ever has to endure what our people did in a period of domestic and international crisis."
The Government of Canada and the Ukrainian Canadian community agree to continue to work together toward a formal agreement to help build better understanding among all Canadians of the strength of our diversity.
The ACE Program will consider and fund eligible proposals that recount the historical experiences of ethnocultural communities affected by wartime measures, such as internment, and immigration restrictions. Initiatives funded through the Program will seek to highlight the contributions made by affected communities to the shaping of Canada's history.
For further information on this announcement, please refer to the backgrounder attached to this news release on the Department of Canadian Heritage Web site at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under "News Room."
Office of the Minister of State
Chief, Media Relations
Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education (ACE) Program
In its February 2005 Budget, the Government of Canada committed $25 million over three years for acknowledgement, commemorative and educational initiatives to highlight the contributions that ethnocultural groups historically affected by wartime measures and immigration restrictions have made to Canadian society, and to help Canadians build a better understanding of these experiences and contributions.
These funds will flow through the Acknowledgement, Commemoration, and Education (ACE) Program, which will be administered by the Multiculturalism Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The ACE Program approach acknowledges that wartime measures and immigration restrictions affected many ethnocultural groups. While the Government cannot re-write history, it can work to build a cohesive and inclusive society for all Canadians. It is committed to working with all communities to strengthen cohesion and Canadian identity. By encouraging Canadians to learn about our past, we can build a better foundation for our future.
The ACE Program will be open to all affected communities and will fund proposals that:
1. Help commemorate the historical experience of communities affected by wartime measures and immigration restrictions, and educate Canadians about these experiences;
2. Highlight and commemorate the contributions that affected communities have made to Canada; and
3. Promote cross-cultural understanding and a shared sense of Canadian identity.