Trudeau to deliver apology to Italian Canadians for internment during WWII

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will formally apologize today for the internment of Canadians of Italian descent during the Second World War.

The prime minister is set to make the address in the House of Commons at 10 a.m. ET about their mistreatment more than 80 years ago.

Canada interned more than 600 people of Italian heritage and declared about 31,000 of them “enemy aliens” after Italian dictator Benito Mussolini entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany in 1940.

Some historians warn Ottawa should be careful not to rewrite history, and are worried that in an attempt to make amends with the innocent, the government will also absolve some actual fascists.

Justice Minister David Lametti said the government is moving ahead with its apology because the detentions were unjustified. For example, he said several people were interned based on the fact that they donated to the Italian Red Cross.

“I’m proud and a bit overwhelmed emotionally by the fact that I will be one of the people involved in apologizing [for] something that has happened historically in Canada to Italian Canadians,” Lametti said in an interview with CBC News.

“I look at the record, at the end, and see no convictions and see no cases brought forward, and see the suspension of civil liberties.”