Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

U.S.

Trudeau government set to apologize to Italian Canadians for war internment


It is a stretch of road lined with postcard perfect views and promises of escape and a sense of freedom. But 80 years ago, sitting under the same shadows of the Rocky Mountains, was Camp No. 130 (also known as Kananaskis Camp).

The Canadian government sent prisoners of war there and interned those deemed to be “enemy aliens.”

On June 10, 1940, when Italy declared war on the United Kingdom, Canada enacted the War Measures Act and rounded up hundreds of Italian Canadians.


The Colonel’s Cabin and one guard tower are all that remain of the Kanaskis Internment and POW camp, where some Italians were housed early in WW2. May 26, 2021.


Tom Reynolds, Global News

“That’s when the great sweep occurred,” said Dr. Arianna Davies, an author and historian.

Story continues below advertisement

“The greatest number was Ontario, Quebec and Vancouver,” said Davies from her Edmonton home.

Read more:
Remembering the ‘bittersweet’ legacy of Canada’s wartime Jewish and Italian internment camps

Davies said between 600 and 700 Italian Canadians were sent to internment camps, including six from Alberta, who were sent to Camp 130.

“Certainly there were hardcore fascists in Canada,” said Davies. “Whether they were capable of sabotage… the idea they would undermine Canada is rubbish really.”

“A lot of Canadian young men of Italian ancestry served in the military, so the record serves for itself.

“All of the other Italians — whether they fit the criteria for being enemy aliens or not — were all tarred with the same brush. People had to report to the RCMP, Italians’ communities ceased to exist. So there’s this sense of shame,” said Davies, who was born in Italy.


The Colonel’s Cabin and one guard tower are all that remain of the Kanaskis Internment and POW camp, where some Italians were housed early in WW2. May 26, 2021.


Tom Reynolds, Global News

The stigma would be felt by new Italian immigrants to Canada in the years following World War II.

Story continues below advertisement

Luigi Audia’s family settled in Calgary in the 1950s. He didn’t know anyone who was interned but he definitely heard the stories and felt the racism perpetuated by it.

“We were picked on as kids a lot,” said Audia, who is a director of Calgary’s Italian Cultural Centre.


The Colonel’s Cabin and one guard tower are all that remain of the Kanaskis Internment and POW camp, where some Italians were housed early in WW2. May 26, 2021.


Tom Reynolds, Global News

“Part of the group that was declared enemy aliens — that doesn’t go away overnight. Then you have the stigma that you came from a country that was part of the enemy.

“Systemic racism was ever present in agencies we had to deal with as kids.”

On Thursday, the Trudeau government is planning on formally apologizing to Italian Canadians.

In 1990, then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney apologized for the war internment to the National Congress of Italians Canadians in Toronto. But because it wasn’t inside the halls of Parliament, some didn’t feel it was official.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
Federal internment camp exhibit opens in Banff

Davies has advocated for a formal apology and says “all Italian Canadians feel an apology is owed.”

But Audia questions the timing of it and hopes it’s not just a blanket apology; but directed specifically at the families of those who were wrongly imprisoned.

“An apology should be to the innocent. I’m not saying they all were, but a majority were,” he said.

“There was a wrong committed against Italians at the time and yes, an apology should have been done way earlier as opposed to now. I don’t know why.

“It’s nice but we could have done with something more targeted.”


The Colonel’s Cabin and one guard tower are all that remain of the Kanaskis Internment and POW camp, where some Italians were housed early in WW2. May 26, 2021.


Tom Reynolds, Global News




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





Source link

Leave your vote

Comments

0 comments

You May Also Like

Politics

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae.

Finance

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Politics

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum.

Finance

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.