Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau delivers apology to Italian Canadians for internment during WW2

31,000 Italian Canadians were labelled ‘enemy aliens,’ fingerprinted and scrutinized

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has delivered a formal apology for the internment of Canadians of Italian descent during the Second World War.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Trudeau says the Italian Canadian community has carried the weight of the unjust policy of internment during the war.

Trudeau says the House of Commons didn’t have to declare war on Canadians of Italian heritage when it declared war on Italy’s fascist regime in June 1940.

He says 31,000 Italian Canadians were labelled “enemy aliens,” and then fingerprinted, scrutinized, and forced to report to local registrars once a month.

Trudeau says more than 600 men were arrested and sent to internment camps, and four women were detained and sent to jail without formal charges, ability to defend themselves in a fair trial or a chance to present or rebut evidence.

He says those who were interned did not turn their backs to Canada, and instead, they chose to contribute to building it proving they loved the country they had chosen as their home.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press


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