Yesterday, I attended an official ceremony where the RCMP expressed their regrets to families of Italian-Canadian internees for the role the RCMP played in the Internment. A tree was planted by the RCMP and the survivors. It was a very moving ceremony, inspired by the organizational work of Joyce Pillarella, oral historian of the Internment, and James Malizia, Assistant Commissioner, Federal Policing of the RCMP. Both are grandchildren of internees who indeed had been interned together at Petawawa and even had a photo taken together!
Families brought pictures of their fathers and grandfathers, and stood for a roll call. James stated that if such an event were to happen today, he would be the official in charge of interning across Canada: a sad irony in some ways, but also one which shows the triumph of our community in terms of promoting the rule of law and the value of citizenship.
As a government, we still need to recognize the hardships suffered by Italian internees, and need to apologize for the injustice they suffered. I will continue to work towards this goal with my Italian caucus colleagues.