Trudeau Apologizes To Italian-Canadians For WWII Internment Camps

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Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a formal apology on behalf of the Canadian government for the internment of Italian-Canadians during World War II, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

“To the men and women who were taken to prisoner of war camps or jail without charge — people who are no longer with us to hear this apology — To the tens of thousands of innocent Italian-Canadians who were labeled enemy aliens — To the children and grandchildren who have carried a past generation’s shame and hurt — And to their community — a community that has given so much to our country — We are sorry,” Trudeau said.

Italy declared war against Canada in 1940 and after the declaration, Canada took aggressive action against people of Italian heritage, interning more than 600 people and declaring approximately 31,000 as “enemy aliens,” according to the AP. (RELATED: Justin Trudeau Stops Short Of Definitively Saying That China Is Committing A Genocide Against The Uighurs)

People of Italian, German, and Japanese descent were placed into internment camps in both Canada and the United States.

Trudeau stated that interning Italian-Canadians was against the values the country swore to defend when they fought against Mussolini’s Italy, the AP reported.

“When, on June 10th 1940, this House of Commons declared war on Mussolini’s fascist regime in Italy, Canada did not also have to declare war on Italian-Canadians,” Trudeau said. “To stand up to the Italian regime that had sided with Nazi Germany — that was right. But to scapegoat law-abiding Italian-Canadians — that was wrong.”

Trudeau further elaborated that during this time, many Italian-Canadians had their rights violated and did not receive due legal process, the AP reported.

“When the authorities came to their door, when they were detained; there were no formal charges, no ability to defend themselves in an open and fair trial, no chance to present or rebut evidence,” Trudeau said. “Yet still, they were taken away to Petawawa or to Fredericton, to Kananaskis or to Kingston.”