This pamphlet is undated, Norman Penner, in Canadian Communism, says it was published in April 1941, which is consistent with internal evidence.
"Their efforts will be written into the pages of our history"
By Mrs. Dorise W. Nielsen, M.P.
During the years of depression, the resourcefulness, the energy, the political awakening of Canadian women was something of which I was immensely proud.
Now in this time of crisis, my faith and belief in our Canadian women has been both confirmed and strengthened.
The women, wives of men interned under Sec. 21 of the Defence of Canada Regulations, who visited Ottawa, have demonstrated their belief in democracy. More than that, they have used our democratic machinery to state their case.
It was not an easy thing for some of them to leave home, where in some cases, they were left alone to care for the family. There were difficulties of many kinds, but the fact that these women did appear before the Parliamentary Committee, did obtain an interview with the Minister of Justice, and are now publishing this pamphlet, is a certain indication of their belief in democracy, and their desire to strengthen it in Canada.
In this I feel sure they will win the respect, consideration and unbiased support of all Canadians.
Their efforts will give courage to all of us, and their fight on behalf of democracy and freedom will be written into the pages of our history
Our Trip to Ottawa
Coming from as far west as Manitoba, and as far east as Nova Scotia, covering the cities and towns of Winnipeg, Port Arthur, Timmins, Windsor, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, a delegation of 15 wives, and a number of children of interned labor leaders, accompanied by some trade unionists, invaded Ottawa, March 31st, 1941, seeking a hearing before government leaders.
Among them were mothers of large families, such as the two French-Canadian mothers Madame Bourget and Mrs. McManus, who described the most appalling relief conditions under which they were forced to live. The delegates had come because they, better than anyone, knew the meaning and portent of government reaction for they had felt it in their own lives. They came, not to plead for sympathy, nor to take up problems that were of concern to them alone, but to demand the return of the democratic rights that have been taken from the Canadian people. They had a graphic story to tell, and by telling it, they were determined to pierce the deliberate and calculated conspiracy of silence that had thus far kept the sinister actions of the government hidden from the public light.
Thus, the delegates spoke not only for themselves and their families who have been made to suffer, but for the common people of Canada, against whom these attacks have been mainly directed.
How The Delegation Got Together
The delegation arose spontaneously out of the resentment that thousands of people feel about the conditions which the government has created. The wives wrote to each other and this was no easy task, because of the secrecy practiced in regard to internees. A few of them mooted the idea of a nation-wide delegation. The idea soon caught on. In Winnipeg, Montreal and Port Arthur conferences were held at which the hundreds of people who attended endorsed and pledged support to the delegates. In Toronto, the Pat Sullivan Continuation Committee, which arose from a similar conference, endorsed and supported the delegation. Then came the difficult task of collecting funds in order to meet the heavy expenses involved in such a trip. But it was soon found that hundreds of people were responding with their dollars, nickels and dimes. The people of the respective communities showed that they wanted the delegation to go to Ottawa.
The trip itself involved considerable difficulty and hardship, especially to the women—the problem of the children, the long distances to be travelled and so on. But these obstacles were set aside, because each delegate felt deeply about the importance of the mission.
We arrived in Ottawa Sunday, March 30, and promptly set about to obtain a hearing. We were anxious to see the Minister of Justice under whose authority labor leaders are interned, and the special committee set up to review the Defence of Canada Regulations.
Government Refuses To Hear Us
But we soon found that the government was determined not to hear us. Both the Chairman of the Special House Committee and the secretary to Mr. Lapointe told us that. They said in effect: "Leave your statement and go home."
Were we who had come so far and under such difficulties to be so summarily dismissed? Why was the government refusing to hear us? Were they afraid of the truth ? Were they afraid to face us whose homes they have broken, whose liberties they have robbed?
True they had not invited us. Little wonder! But neither had we invited their R.C.M.P. when they came invading the sanctity of our homes, taking away our loved ones, and brutally destroying the little happiness and limited security that we had known.
We Appeal To The Canadian People
We resolved to stay on. We refused to leave Ottawa without a hearing, no matter how many days it might take. We rented a little hotel room close by the House of Commons. Citizens of Ottawa opened their homes to us. We began a systematic canvas of members of parliament, press representatives and public men in Ottawa. On Monday night, we gathered together a group of 16 M.P.s and told them our story. We sent out telegrams to friends all over Canada asking them to aid us in securing a hearing. To our hotel headquarters came messages of sympathy and support. Residents of Ottawa from all walks of life interested themselves in our work and gave us splendid assistance.
At this point we must render our warm thanks to that great people's fighter Mrs. Dorise Nielsen, M.P., whose kindness, courage and help gave us such great inspiration. We also wish to express our thanks to Rev. Mr. Hansell, M.P. for MacLeod, Alta., who also assisted us considerably.
The Government Changes Its Mind
Thus if the "official" attitude was cool, that of the people was indeed otherwise. And soon it became obvious that throughout the country the people were rallying to our support. Tuesday word came to us, first from the Chairman of the Special House Committee, and then later from Mr. Lapointe's office. They would receive us Wednesday, the Committee in the morning and Mr. Lapointe in the afternoon.
Naturally our delegation was jubilant. We had scored a victory. We learned later that many protests from various parts of the country had come in. The government had retreated from its first position because of the pressure of public opinion.
The hearings themselves were brief and noncommittal. We were given the usual promises of "consideration." But the important thing was, we had broken through. We had made our presence felt. The press, particularly the Toronto Star and Canadian Tribune had transmitted a big part of our story to the people. We had succeeded in presenting our evidence, arguments and demands.
At the meeting of the Special House Committee, we were surprised at the attitude of the majority of the M.P.s. who rather than get at the truth of the matter sought to pose irrelevant questions aimed at side-tracking the main issues. We were amazed at the position of Mr. M. J. Coldwell, C.C.F. leader, who previously with the other C.C.F. members seemed to have been very considerate and sympathetic to us in private discussions. Mr. Coldwell is opposed to our proposal for the Repeal of Section 21. All he and his group are proposing is that a three man advisory committee to hear and review internment cases replace the present one-man committee. What real difference will this effect? Will this subdue our present R.C.M.P. (Gestapo)? Will this deprive the Minister of Justice of his dictatorial power? Will this restore democracy to the Canadian people? Of course it will not! All such a change will do is make it possible for the government to better cover up its pro-fascist actions, and give the impression to many undiscerning people that a real reform has been brought about. Our task is not to allay the fears of the people but to arouse them to a full consciousness of the great danger inherent in the government's course. Mr. Coldwell stated that since the top leadership of the trade union movement does not protest internments, then internments are not to be regarded as a threat to labor. We feel certain, however, that when we made the statement to the government that internment of labor leaders is a blow to the labor movement itself, we were expressing the sentiments of the vast majority of trade unionists in Canada. We also feel that Mr. Coldwell in this matter is not expressing the genuine viewpoint of the C.C.F. members and sympathizers.
We See Mr. Lapointe
Mr. Lapointe at the interview we had with him was very polite, but one felt all the time that the government's mind on this question was fully made up. In regard to many of the grievances made by the women, he passed the buck by stating the matters concerned were not under his jurisdiction. In regard to the enforcement of the Defence of Canada Regulations he stated that he receives very many representations from the "Right" asking for great severity and enforcement. It therefore means that the common people of Canada must make their will known to the government as opposed to the pernicious influence of the reactionaries of this country who are "all out" to get the people.
Suppressing The Common People
The delegation's visit and interviews are but a beginning and a part of the great fight for the return of Canadian democratic rights. Since the outbreak of the war the fundamental democratic rights of the Canadian people have gone one by one by the wayside. All power of government now rests with a narrow group within the cabinet, who rule the people by the dictatorial method of Order-in-Council. The Defence of Canada Regulations, which makes this possible, is itself an Order-in-Council drawn up long before this country became involved in the war.
By Order-in-Council, the basic right of the working class, the right to strike has been gravely menaced, one might almost say abolished. Employers are thus given a free hand to impose their will upon the workers. By Order-in-Council, over a dozen working class political, and cultural organizations have been outlawed, and even to defend them is illegal.
Dozens of people are today languishing in prison or penitentiary for claiming the right to have their own independent organizations and the right to their progressive political opinions. By decree one man, the Minister of Justice, has interned without trial over 100 labor leaders. Think of it! 100 men who courageously fought for the welfare and security of the Canadian people are in concentration camps—400 genuine anti-fascists! They are far beyond the reach of family and friends or anyone else who might help them. Through such action the very root of Canadian liberty is torn up. Similarly the right to worship is negated by the banning of the Jehovah Witnesses and the indiscriminate hounding and persecution of people who follow the religion of this sect.
The group of men who wield this enormous power have banned hundreds of newspapers and publications thus taking unto themselves the right to decide what the Canadian people can and cannot read.
Four Canadians holding public office have been interned and thus the people are denied the fundamental right of electing their own representatives to office. This right was won in England in 1769 when the T party tried four times to oust John Wilkes after he had been elected to parliament. This right was also won by bitter struggle in Canada after the Family Compact had tried five times to oust William Lyon Mackenzie from the Upper Canada House but met on each occasion the resistance of his constituents. The trade union movement which gained its right to existence by heroic effort also finds itself under government fire.
As our brief states: the right of personal liberty has been abolished through the use of Section 21. Instead the political police, the R.C.M.P. have now full power to terrorize the population.
Working class halls and cultural centres built up by the sacrifices of the workers and farmers have been confiscated and we have the instances of Toronto and Winnipeg where these have now been turned over to Ukrainian fascist groups that have had intimate connections with Berlin!
Respected large sections of our foreign-born population who had built up mighty cultural centres of music, drama, dance and other arts, enriching the life and color of our country, have been among the sufferers of these dictatorial acts.
The Beginnings Of Fascism
An enormous power has thus been concentrated into a few hands, paralleling the same centralization of economic and financial power that monopolizes the wealth of this country. The same group wish to monopolize the government. The process is strikingly similar to that which has occurred in Germany, Italy and more recently France.
The financial barons see in the democratic method a weapon that the people might wield against the profits and privilege of the rich. They know that the working class is the dominant progressive force in all countries, forging resolutely ahead to a new and better life. This reaction hates and seeks to stop. And now with huge appropriations that mean enormous burdens on the poor people, reaction fears resistance from the common people and through repression, seeks to stop it.
They begin by attacking the "left." But once fundamental civil rights are destroyed, no section of the population is safe from these attacks.
In Germany, Italy and France, concentration camps ostensibly built for Communists were large enough to include thousands of others!
Root Out Fear ... Build Up A Mighty Peoples' Movement
Look about you in Canada today. There is fear among the people. Fear to speak, to read, to think, fear to be seen with others, lest one be accused of keeping "bad company." Fear and fascism generally travel hand in hand!
The people of this country do not approve of what is going on. They are essentially liberty loving and democratic. They are not to be tricked into losing all their liberties under the excuse of "war necessity." In our interviews in Ottawa we were always met with this excuse "There is a war on." therefore our ancient liberties must go overboard!
Democracy cannot be revoked or invoked at will, extended to some and denied to others. Democracy belongs to the people who won the right to it by struggle. Once it is taken away even for a short while democracy ceases to exist.
Our trip is just the start of a mighty peoples' movement that must be built if democracy is to be restored. We are more than ever resolved to bring all the facts to the attention of the people and the nation. That is why this pamphlet has been printed. Read the brief, study it and discuss it among your friends, take it up in your trade union local, or organization, club and church. Let us have any comments you may wish to make. We would like to see committees set up in every community to help in this work. We would like to see as many resolutions as possible sent to the government. Make your will known to the authorities!
In closing we quote from a leading Ontario barrister, J. L. Cohen, K.C.: "There cannot in my opinion be any bottleneck in a free society and it still be free, and I think Regulation 21 intends to be that bottleneck. Destroy it."
To the Prime Minister and the Minister of justice
Ottawa, March 31/41.
Attached herewith, please find the Brief, which we, the wives and dependents of interned labor people place before you and the Committee appointed by parliament to deal with the Defense of Canada Regulations, for consideration.
We speak in the name of the families of over 100 men and women, interned for the most part under Section 21 of the Defence of Canada Regulations and some imprisoned under the same regulations. We speak, we feel, not only in their name, but also in the name of thousands of people throughout Canada, who consider that many of the Sections of the Defence of Canada Regulations are unjust, undemocratic and harsh, and particularly Section 21, which constitutes a violation of the fundamental principles of democracy and is the nearest legislation approaching Nazi practices.
These people, our husbands, fathers, relatives, have committed no crime. On the contrary, they are labor people, many trade unionists, who have spent the major part of their lives working on behalf of the common people and laboring classes, active anti-fascists. They are people respected in their various communities, people who had subordinated their personal interests to aid their fellow men. Yet, because of their political opinions, or because they have dared to criticize things they have considered wrong, they have been either imprisoned, or as in the vast majority of cases, interned without a trial, without they or the public having knowledge of the charges laid against them.
They have been completely isolated from society, denied those rights that the worst kind of criminals receive, such as visits, etc. Their property and belongings have been confiscated, their mail is heavily censored and they are housed together with fascists.
We, their families, suffer through their internment great hardships and unhappiness, particularly is this the case with the innocent child dependents involved, who suffer through the stigma "prisoner of war," by which their fathers have been branded, and whose health and strength are seriously undermined by insufficient relief and in some cases through callous and cruel discrimination.
Despite official denials, rumors persist that fascist internees receive privileges in the way of visits, etc. It is definitely known that while labor internees only in very extreme cases of sickness have been released that a number of well-known fascists are now free. Recent Timmins cases are an outstanding example.
Together with this brief, which deals mainly with the injustices perpetrated through the use of Section 21 of the regulations we have attached some outstanding case histories and examples of injustices and discriminations practiced upon internees and their families.
We are also enclosing the list of people that we know of that are either interned or imprisoned under the Defense of Canada Regulations, whom we classify as labor, anti-fascist and progressive. There may of course be many others, since it is very difficult under the Defence of Canada Regulations for the public to get information.
In dealing with our brief and materials, we ask you to, give serious regard to the requests we make for an immediate alleviation of the injustices and sufferings we refer to.
We urge the early release of all these people named.
We urge the repeal of the obnoxious and anti-democratic Section 21.
Pending the release of these people, we urge the following improvements in their and our conditions.
For the Internees:
For Labor Prisoners:
For Families and Dependents:
We hope that you will grant our requests. We believe that this government in dealing with the common people of this country should bear in mind a statement that was made by Winston Churchill upon the withdrawal of the BBC ban upon British "leftist" radio artists. He stated : "Anything in the nature of persecution or victimization or man hunting is odious to the British people."
Release Labor Prisoners!
Manitoba Trial Pending
Ontario Trial Pending
Mrs. Jean Bourget, Montreal, Quebec.
My husband, Jean Bourget, was interned at the beginning of June, 1940, and I was left with five small children, the oldest 1.3 years of age and the youngest 3 years.
After a little trouble I was able to get relief for myself and my family. The relief at first was $8.35 a week and $10.00 a month for rent. Even at this rate it is quite impossible to feed six people let alone buying clothing and medical care. At the beginning of the winter when I went to get my relief I was told that from then on I would receive only $4.95 a week and also the $10.00 for the rent. The reason they gave me, was, that my father had started work and was therefore responsible. What a poor excuse! After all, my father has his own family to support and has sworn out an affidavit to that effect. And since when is a father responsible for his daughter who has been married for 15 years and has a family of her own. I took the affidavit down to the relief office but to no avail, and to this day I have been receiving $4.95 a week. This amount is distributed as follows: $1.50 for wood; 20 cents for light; I pay $13.00 rent for a small flat and I only receive $10.00 a month for rent from the relief, that leaves $3.00 a month which has to come out of my weekly allowance of $4.95, leaving me only $2.50 for food, etc. If the Federal Government is supposed to pay for my relief, why was I cut from $8.35 (which is absolutely insufficient to sustain a family of six) to $4.95? My children have far to go to school and are unable to come home for lunch —they take along bread but can't get milk at the school because I can't afford to pay 15 cents per week for each of the three children going to school. They, therefore, drink water with their bread — some nourishment for small growing children! This is the situation I am in and there is only one way out of it—that is for my husband to be released from unjust internment.
(Signed) Mrs. J. Bourget
Mrs. W Kolisnyk (Winnipeg) speaks:
One early morning in July, 4 a.m. to be exact, a knock was heard at the door. We were all startled. I answered and found the R.C.M.P. there, with a warrant, demanding my husband, W. N. Kolisnyk.
I was shaken with fear, being aroused like that, and knowing full well what his arrest would mean.
He was made to dress immediately, and was taken away with but a minute to say goodbye. No words were spoken between us and he was whisked away amid tears and cries of "Daddy" from my nine-year-old girl. I did not see him again.
There I was left alone with my little girl, with no money, no help from anyone. I went to the relief offices and they gave me $13.00 for a month for my baby and myself, but nothing for my son who was unemployed. That was for one month: I went back again and was refused relief. I pleaded and begged, but all I got was insults from the men working in government offices. I have not been given any relief since, and that was 7 or 8 months ago.
When the winter set in, and my son was taken away for training, I went to the relief offices and ask for some fuel. I managed to get two cords of wood for the whole winter.
There was a light bill my husband left unpaid. I received final notice, but I had no money to pay. I went down to the Company and tried to explain the situation, but to no avail. The lights were turned out one evening, and me with my supper on the stove. We ate a half-cooked meal and sat with candles lighting up the room. Next day, I borrowed a few dollars, and paid some of the bill.
Payments were behind and due on our car. I could not meet the payments, so the car was taken away.
To make matters worse, my little girl got sick with infected tonsils and no money for a doctor or an operation. Then again she got the measles, and still no doctor's care. I received a card from the school nurse, saying: "Audrey is 9 pounds underweight, and would I give her more nourishing food and doctor's care." The irony of it!
Then came the final blow. Payments were not made on our home during my husband's absence, and I was given final notice and foreclosure. I went to see the Company, but I again hit a stone wall. They gave me till May 1st to pay or get out. So here I am, no relief, no money, and now, no home.
Now, what is a person to do?
(Signed) Mrs. W. Kolisnyk.
The story of Mrs. P. Lysets:
My husband, a father of two boys, was interned at the beginning of July, 1940. At the. same time, his older son lost a job and the younger one suffered eye-trouble of an unknown disease and was nearly blind. Medical support was badly needed and the circumstances of the family were very critical.
Having only a small income before, they lived very poorly and could not save money for bad times. Immediate support was needed and I asked for relief. The relief authorities refused to support the boys because they are over 19 years of age. After the doctor stated the eye-sickness of the younger boy, relief was given for the two of us.
Receiving my rent I was told that I have no right to keep the older son in a house which the government pays for. He had to leave the family. The husband put into a concentration camp, the son thrown on the street, our hearts broken twice.
In the very beginning my husband asked me for some articles, such as: sweater, pillow, towels, socks, soap, tooth-powder, etc. All the things had to be new. How could I get them?
In the autumn we were in need of warm clothing. The relief authorities refused to provide the sick boy with them. Even when the doctor asked for a pair of shoes for him it took nearly a month before he got them. Many times I had to travel the long way from North Winnipeg to the Parliament Buildings and ask for them. I too received only some of the things which I needed and asked for. For example, I received only one pair of heavy bloomers and one vest, and I was told that I may wash them in the evening and wear them again in the morning.
(Signed) Mrs. P. Lysets.
My husband, Gerald McManus, was interned last June. I have seven children aged 17 to 2. My son who is 17 years of age is working and is getting a wage of $10.00 a week. Out of this he has to pay his own carfare. I went down to the relief office and asked for help and after a great deal of trouble I managed to get $1.80 a week and $13.00 a month for my rent. We are eight people living on $11.80 a week, out of which I have to pay for my fuel, light and make up the difference in the rent. And whatever is left I use for food—there is nothing left for clothing or medical care. My husband had a job before he was interned and was therefore in a position to look after his family. With the prices of foodstuffs and everything else going up every day it is quite impossible for eight people to exist on the meagre allowance that I am getting. As I understand it, the families of the interned men are supposed to be looked after by the Federal Government. If this is so, how can the Government expect us to bring up healthy, normal children under such terrible conditions? The only way out for me, as I see it, is for my husband to be released.
(Signed) Mrs. G. Mcmanus.
Kananaskis Int. Camp, Seebe, Alta.
January 26th, 1941.
Dear Mary and Kiddies:
The following is a letter I received from the custodian at Ottawa, Jan. 6, 1941: "The defendants of the above named Andrew Bilecki have applied for relief. The relief authorities now ask whether the cash surrender value of two insurance policies carried by this man on the lives of his daughters, which amounts to approximately $134.00 may not be obtained to take care of these dependents. I shall be glad, accordingly, if this internee will state his view in this regard." The same day I sent the following reply: "As the two life insurance policies are the only protection which my two children (5 and 7 years old) have at present, I am not prepared to surrender their cash value." I believe you will agree with my reply. Have you been approached in this regard? You could imagine my resentment to such an attitude. You will receive one more card for this month.
Following are the biographies of some of the outstanding labor leaders who have been interned under Section 21 of the Defence of Canada Regulations. In essence their lives were he same. They all worked tirelessly and self-sacrificingly on behalf of the common people of Canada. They all alike manifested a hatred of fascism and oppression in whatever form it appeared. And they all alike were hated and persecuted by the very oppression they were combatting.
J. A. (PAT) , SULLIVAN—J. A. (Pat) Sullivan, President of the Canadian Seamen's Union, was interned June 8, 1940, while representing the seamen at the Board of Conciliation hearings. At the time of his arrest he was completing very successful negotiations on behalf of the seamen. Pat Sullivan was born in Ireland and has for many years worked on the boats plying the Great Lakes. At the 1938 Convention of the union Pat was elected president of the Canadian Seamen's Union which post he still holds. Although unable to attend the 1941 convention of the union, because of his arbitrary detention, the members nevertheless expressed their confidence in his able leadership and re-elected him to this very important post. Isn't this sufficient proof that Sullivan is a staunch labor leader working in the interest of his fellow-men? Pat is an anti-fascist. At the 1938 convention of the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada, Pat asked that the Congress pass a resolution to place an embargo on shipments to fascist countries. When he first began organizing the Canadian Seaman’s Union the conditions among the sailors in Canada were disgraceful. The powerful organization which he has helped to build has won for the men substantial wage increases and considerable improvement in their conditions of work.
ORTON WADE—Born in Quebec in 1903. Possessed of a love for democracy, great energy and enthusiasm, he has been an active worker in labor organizations for many years. During the Spanish Civil War he fought against fascism and displayed under fire the heroism and courage characteristic of a true Canadian. Returning from Spain he became organizer and business agent for the Meat Packers Union in Winnipeg, and at the time of his arrest in July, 1940, he was engaged in negotiating for his union an agreement with some of the meat packing houses.
CHARLES R. MURRAY- --Charles R. Murray, Vice-President of the Canadian Seamen’s Union, was born in Earltown, Nova Scotia, 35 years ago, the son of a United Church Minister. He graduated from Dalhousie University, in 1932 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Fisheries, the first degree of its kind in Canada. He is the youngest of a family, all of whom have responsible positions in the world of medicine and the church. He gave up his professional work in order to devote his full time to the fishermen of Nova Scotia in their fight against poverty. At Lockeport when the companies locked the men out to break the union organization he worked indefatigably organizing relief for the families who were facing starvation and endeavouring to bring about a reasonable settlement. At the time of his internment he was opening negotiations for a union agreement between the fishermen and the canning companies.
BRUCE MAGNUSON—Born in Sweden. Came to Canada 1928. Became naturalized in 1933. Now aged 32. Farmed in the West for a few years and then came to Northern Ontario; began working in lumber camps. Helped in organizing lumber workers in the district. At the time of his arrest was President for the third year in succession of Local 2768, Lumber & Sawmill Workers' Union, an affiliate of the Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America (A. F. of L.). At the 1940 Convention (November) was re-elected president of his union although by that time he was interned. When he was arrested he was serving his third year as Secretary of the Port Arthur Trades & Labor Council. He was well-known publicly as a leading trade unionist of the city and held in high esteem and respect by wide sections of the people. Was well-known as a timber expert; prepared at one time an excellent brief on forest conservation, reforestation, etc. His opinions and practical knowledge on the subject were respected by the local timber operators and also by the Minister of Lands and Forests. On August 7th, 1940, an R.C.M.P. officer in plain clothes went to the union office and asked for a private interview with Magnuson. Magnuson never returned. He was virtually kidnapped: Bruce Magnuson is married and his wife is still residing in Port Arthur and is on relief.
WILLIAM TAYLOR—William Taylor is 50 years of age; born in South Wales; a coal miner by occupation; served 3˝ years in the war of 1914-1918 as volunteer in the Imperial British army in France and Flanders with the Machine Gun Corps. Attained the rank of sergeant and was cited for "exceptional bravery and distinguished conduct in action." Was active in the Miners Federation of South Wales. He came to Canada with his wife and three children in 1929, going to Saskatchewan; from 1931 to 1940 he was the leader of movements of laboring and unemployed people; he was candidate for alderman of the City of Saskatoon in 1931, 1932 and 1933. Candidate for provincial legislature, Saskatoon constituency, 1934. Is in poor health as a result of impairment of lungs during years working as a miner. He was interned Sept. 7, 1940. At time of his internment was secretary of the Saskatoon Fraternal and Protective Association.
JACOB PENNER—Alderman of the city of Winnipeg and outstanding public figure. Born in Russia in 1880, he came to Canada in 1903 and has lived and worked in Winnipeg ever since. First elected to the City Council in 1934 his efforts on behalf of the people have won for him nation-wide recognition and acclaim and he has been three times re-elected, each time at the head, of the poll. When he was elected as alderman he gave up his job so that he could devote his full energies to his civic duties. He opened up an office where he received the grievances of the people and he worked tirelessly to get some measure of justice to those underprivileged. An expert on municipal affairs he was a vigorous exponent of municipal reform and a courageous champion of the peoples’ needs. His internment on June 11, 1940, was a bitter blow to the thousands of citizens who had looked to him for assistance and support. No justification could be found for this act. Rather his profound belief in the Canadian people and his efforts to promote their welfare are manifestations of genuine patriotism.
ANDREW BILECKI—Born in the Province of Saskatchewan in 1904, he has a lifetime of toil and privation. Struggling under great burdens he secured an education and became a school teacher, later working with the ULFTA. First elected to the school board in 1934, he has been three times re-elected in the city of Winnipeg, each time at the head of the poll, remaining on the school board until he was illegally ousted by that body, following his internment on July 6, 1940. On the school board he fought for the extension and improvement of education facilities, free text books, greater opportunities for the working class children and a more democratic curriculum. He also served one year on the city council. At the time of his arrest he was general manager of the People's Co-Operative Ltd. and active worker in the co-operative movement. He is the father of two small children.
JOHN WEIR—Was born in Manitoba, in 1906. He spent much of his life in British Columbia and Ontario: Since early youth he spent much of his time with labor and farm organizations, displaying special talent as a journalist. In 1927 he was editor of a youth magazine in Winnipeg. Became editor of the "Worker" in 1935 and later associate editor of the "Daily Clarion." For two years, 1937-38, he was a member of the Toronto Board of Education, serving sincerely and diligently in that capacity. He was a Member of the Newspaper Guild and business agent of the Artist's Union until he came to Winnipeg in 1939 as editor of the "Mid-West Clarion." At the time of his internment he was waiting trial under the Defence of Canada Regulations. John Weir was on his way to court when he was seized and interned and in this way denied the right of defending himself against charges of which he had been accused.
JOHN NAVIZIWSKY (Navis)—Born in Poland in 1888, he came to Canada in 1911. He has a long and brilliant record in the labor movement. He was active in Ukrainian circles, organizing schools, cultural work and in relief work to aid stricken compatriots in an oppressed Western Ukraine. He organized and edited several Ukrainian language periodicals and prior to his internment, June, 1940, was general manager of the Workers and Farmers Publishing Assoc. He was also active politically and in the 1935 Federal elections contested the Selkirk constituency, polling over 3000 votes. He was one of the most popular and prominent Ukrainian citizens in Canada.
Copyright South Branch Publishing. All