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A war prisoner’s story, by Benjamin Weistra, The Lethbridge Herald, March 24, 2020

Vernon part of end of internment camp ceremonies, Vernon Morning Star, February 24, 2020

Enemy Alien A True Story of Life behind Barbed Wire, a book by Kassandra Luciuk and Nicole Marie Burton, February 12, 2020

This graphic history tells the story of Canada’s first national internment operations through the eyes of John Boychuk, an internee held in Kapuskasing from 1914 to 1917. The story is based on Boychuk’s actual memoir, which is the only comprehensive internee testimony in existence.

The novel follows Boychuk from his arrest in Toronto to Kapuskasing, where he spends just over three years. It details the everyday struggle of the internees in the camp, including forced labour and exploitation, abuse from guards, malnutrition, and homesickness. It also documents moments of internee agency and resistance, such as work slowdowns and stoppages, hunger strikes, escape attempts, and riots.

Little is known about the lives of the incarcerated once the paper trail stops, but Enemy Alien subsequently traces Boychuk’s parole, his search for work, his attempts to organize a union, and his ultimate settlement in Winnipeg. Boychuk’s reflections emphasize the much broader context in which internment takes place. This was not an isolated incident, but rather part and parcel of Canadian nation building and the directives of Canada’s settler colonial project.

  • Paperback / softback, 96 pages

  • ISBN 9781771134729

  • Coming March 2020

It happened, son of interned Ukrainian says, St. Albert Today, January 10, 2020

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The War Measures Act, August 22, 1914, Library and Archives Canada

An act to confer certain powers upon the Governor in Council and to amend the immigration act .
Acts of the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada

Full text of the law giving greater powers to the government of Canada during times of war
War measures act, 1914

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The Hague Convention, International Committee of the Red Cross, October 18, 1907

Signed in 1907, the Hague Convention guaranteed the rights of prisoners of war held in camps. The rules of the Convention were not always or completely respected by Canada during the First World War. The Convention made a distinction between prisoners of war and civilians, but the Canadian authorities to a large degree ignored this distinction. The twenty-four camps that accommodated internees were mostly located away from cities, such as remote areas in the Rocky Mountains.

The Canada Gazette

Official publication of the Government of Canada, notably containing Orders in Council.

Orders-in-Council, Library and Archives Canada

Official publication of the Government of Canada, notably containing Orders in Council.

From the outset, the Canadian government adopted many measures by Order in Council to respond to the new exigencies of war, including the restriction of some civil liberties. Canadian authorities were given the right to arrest, to detain, to censor, to exclude, to deport, to control or to capture all persons and property considered as a potential threat to Canada. Any resident not naturalized who had been a citizen of the now enemy states were considered de facto "enemy illegal residents." Some of these persons were ultimately subject to detention in camps. The War Measures Act was subsequently approved by Parliament. The Act in addition to authorizing future actions, also legitimized the decisions implemented in the early days of the war by the Privy Council (Cabinet).

Thematic Guides - Internment Camps in Canada during the First and Second World Wars, Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada holds an extensive collection of governmental and private records generally consisting of textual documents on paper or on microfilm as well as publications and films about internment camps located in Canada during both World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945). Please note that this guide relates mainly to the internment camps in Canada. At the end of this guide, you will find a section related to internment camps abroad.

Internment Operations 1914 - 1920 Report by Major General William Otter, Director of Internment Operations

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Canada's first national internment operations of 1914 - 1920, Map of Internment Camps

Canada's First National Internment Camps Opening and Closing Dates

Thinking About History: A Free TC2 Guide for Teachers on Canada's First National Internment Operations

Roll Call, Lest We Forget

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St. Paul, Alberta, Internment Statue and Interpretive Panel Unveiling -October 13, 2019 Alberta Kontakt TV

Members of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) and its activist counterpart, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA), on Sat. Sept. 28, 2019, unveiled Canada’s newest monument dedicated to remembering the country’s first national internment operations, in St. Paul, located 200 kilometres east of Edmonton. Titled 21 Strands, the monument is unique, composing not just a trilingual educational (English-French-Ukrainian) plaque, but also an image of internees standing behind 21 horizontal lengths of Canadian barbed wire.

Yoho National Park, BC, Internment Camp Statue and Interpretive Panel Unveiling - June 22, 2019 Alberta Kontakt TV

On June 22, 2019 in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Parks Canada in cooperation with the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canada First World War Internment Recognition Fund, unveiled a statue and interpretive panels commemorating the thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans who were unjustly interned during Canada's first national internment operations of 1914-1920.

That Never Happened: Canada's First National Internment Operations - Official Trailer, Armistice Films

Screening schedule 2018


THAT NEVER HAPPENED: Canada's First National Internment Operations


Sept 20 - Geneva, Switzerland - United Naions - Palais de Nations

Oct 16 - Ottawa, On - Parliament Hill - Private event for MP's and Senators

Oct 21 - Fernie, BC - Vogue Theatre

Oct 23 - Calgary, AB - Globe Theatre

Oct 27 - Burlington, On - Cinestarz

Oct 28 - Mississauga, On - Cinestarz         *National Internment Commemoration Day

Nov 8 - Ottawa, On - Bytowne

​Nov 9, 10, 11 - Saskatoon, Sk - Roxy

Nov 9, 11, 12 - Edmonton, Ab - Metro Cinema - Nov 9, 9:30 pm - Nov 11, 3pm - Nov 12, 7pm

Nov 10, 11 - Regina, Sk - Rainbow 

Nov 11 - Winnipeg, Mb - Canadian Museum For Human Rights

Canadian guards & Ukrainian prisoners committed suicide 1914-1920 (Інтерновані українці Канади)

Preview of an interview with Prof. Bohdan Kordan on "No Free Man: Canada, the Great War, and the Enemy Alien Experience", Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 13 January 2017.

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