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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a reception held in honour of Italian Heritage Month in Vaughan, Ont., on June 14, 2019, the federal government will issue a formal apology to Italians mistreated in Canada during the Second World War.

Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is committed to issuing a formal apology to Italian Canadians mistreated in the country during the Second World War.

“We have to face the dark chapter in our country’s history,” he said Friday. “Italian Canadians have lived with these memories for many years and deserve closure.”

Trudeau made the announcement in Vaughan, Ont., at an event celebrating Italian heritage month.

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He said during the war, Italian Canadian families and businesses struggled and no one was held responsible.

“It was a time when their patriotism was questioned and their lives thrown into chaos. During the Second World War, hundreds of Italian Canadians were interned,” said Trudeau.

He did not say when the formal apology would be issued, but said it would offer closure to the community.

Trudeau also announced that the federal government would be opening a permanent trade centre in Milan, Italy.

Trudeau did not provide further details, but he said the centre will ensure that the “future is bright” between Canada and Italy.

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