Celebrating Success: Canadian Historical Recognition Program

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By A Correspondent

Members of the Chinese, Italian, South Asian, Jewish, Ukrainian and other communities joined Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney on February 18 to celebrate the success of the Community Historical Recognition Program.

“The Government of Canada is committed to recognizing and educating Canadians about the experiences of those pioneers who overcame such heavy burdens,” said Minister Kenney. “Their experiences mark an unfortunate period in our nation’s history. We must ensure that they are never forgotten.”

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, said, “The wartime measures and immigration restrictions experienced by those communities mark an unfortunate period in our nation’s history. The policies were race‑based and inconsistent with values that Canadians hold today.”

The Community Historical Recognition Program was established in 2008 for a five year period. Its purpose was to acknowledge and to educate all Canadians about how certain ethno-cultural communities were affected by wartime discriminatory measures and immigration restrictions applied in Canada.

The program has made available $13.5 million to support 68 community projects that promote a lasting awareness of the communities’ experiences.

The program has funded a wide variety of prestigious projects across Canada, such as commemorative monuments, documentaries, books, exhibits and plays.

Among them, the documentary Lost Years: The Chinese Canadian Struggle for Justice created by the Chinese Graduates Association of Alberta, which received two nominations for the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards; the Komagata Maru Monument, built prominently on Vancouver’s Harbour Green Park by the Khalsa Diwan Society; the travelling exhibit Italian Canadians During World War II: From Memory to Legacy, produced by the Columbus Center of Toronto, which is set to travel Canada-wide over the next three years; and None is too Many: Memorializing the MS St. Louis, which comprises a historical monument at Pier 21 in Halifax harbour; teaching materials, and a national youth essay‑writing contest.

“I am confident that the memorials and the stories shared will not only serve as effective reminders of a difficult time in our history, but also recognize the enormous contributions these communities have made to build Canada,” said Minister Kenney.

For each community, an Advisory Committee was mandated to advise on eligible and meaningful projects to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

In addition to the Community Historical Recognition Program, the Government of Canada also established the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund to support projects that commemorate the experiences of all affected communities during that period. This fund has been managed by the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko.

Learn more about the history of the affected communities and all the community projects funded by the Community Historical Recognition Program at: www.CIC.gc.ca/CHRP.

Joe Friesen writes in Globe and Mail: Chinese head-tax redress funds clawed back
$500,000 of the $5-million destined for Chinese Canadian projects had not been spent. Now that the program has ended, the remaining money has been clawed back into government revenue, according to the ministry. It will never be used for its intended purpose.

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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