ERIC HAFEMANN   Telephone: (519) 744-7505 Fax: (519) 744-3611
Barrister & Solicitor
150 Duke St. W.
Kitchener, Ont. N2H 3X1

October 31, 2000

Dr. William Zuzak

Dear Sir:


Thank you for your interest in the above-noted matter. I am setting out below my experiences, as counsel for one of the unfortunate senior citizens, caught up in this denaturalization and deportation process. I can state at the outset that this process is one of the worst examples of human rights abuse that any Canadian Government has perpetrated on its citizens in recent history.

Firstly, the Government announced these proceedings with great fanfare, to the effect that it was taking action against war criminals residing in Canada today. We of course know that almost immediately following these announcements, the Government backed away from that position. As soon as the media is out of earshot and Government lawyers have to defend their positions in Court, they immediately dumb down the procedure to a citizenship and immigration problem.

In the Oberlander case, the Government alleged that Mr. Oberlander had been a member of the SD (a branch of the notorious SS), and as such had participated in the execution of civilians. At the end of the hearings before MacKay, J., of the Federal Court, it was proven beyond any doubt that Mr. Oberlander was not a member of the SS, or any of its sub-groups, and that there was absolutely no evidence that he participated, either directly or indirectly, in the execution of anyone. In other words, the allegations against Mr. Oberlander were false from the very beginning. There was not one shred of evidence to suggest otherwise.

Normally, such findings would have put this matter to rest, however, for some unexplained reason, the Judge decided to pursue a frolic of his own. He found that Mr. Oberlander had been conscripted as a civilian, to act as an interpreter for some period of time for the SD. As such he applied his own extended definition of "membership". He also found that Russian prisoners of war, captured by the Germans, and forced to work in various capacities, were also members. This definition was applied to a witness, who was called in our case. Similarly, another Government witness, was conscripted as a chauffeur. This individual of course is living happily in Canada, and the Government has not seen fit to take any proceedings against him, despite the fact that he was in exactly the same position as Mr. Oberlander.

The Judge then went on to speculate, on the basis of evidence from retired RCMP Officers, who had no personal knowledge of Mr. Oberlander's case, and were not even in Germany at the time, that there was a system of screening in place. Since there was a system of screening, then Mr. Oberlander must have lied about his wartime activities, or else he would not have been permitted to enter Canada.

The foregoing of course are outrageous findings, not supported by the evidence, and certainly erroneous in law. Among other things, the Judge ignored Government documents, which clearly indicated that Mr. Oberlander did not even fall in a "category for rejection". Therefore, any discussions that may or may not have taken place, vis a vis war time activity, were quite irrelevant in any event.

Unfortunately, the procedure that Mr. Oberlander and others have been subjected to, does not provide for an avenue of appeal. Even a careless driving case can be appealed up to the Supreme Court of Canada. A decent citizen however can have his citizenship revoked on the whims of one man, should the Cabinet not scrutinize those findings carefully. The Government has supported this exercise, arguing that nothing happens to a citizen as a result of the findings of fact by the Federal Court. This exercise amounts to nothing more or less than a Report to the Minister. Only if the Minister decides to bring the matter forward to Cabinet, and the Cabinet decides to act on those findings, will a person's citizenship come into jeopardy.

Since the Government has taken this position, I insisted that I should be permitted to make submissions to the Minister and the Cabinet. Ultimately, the Government agreed, and as part of my Submissions, I included a Report, commissioned by me, from a retired Justice of the Superior Court of Justice. This Opinion severely criticized the quality of work of Judge MacKay of the Federal Court. In effect, I created my own Court of Appeal.

Since the Government has taken a position that the fact-finding process in front of the Federal Court Judge, does not per se affect the status of a citizen, I have taken the position that the Minister and the Cabinet are now acting in a quasi-judicial capacity. Therefore, I am entitled to reasons with respect to any decision that they might make, signed by every member of Cabinet. I have also requested that any submissions made by the Attorney General must be copied to me, so that I can reply.

Lastly, I have taken the position that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Attorney General cannot take part in the decision making process, in that they are parties to this litigation. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is the complainant in the law suit, and the Attorney General, through her Agents, is the prosecutor.

In addition, we have filed an application for judicial review under Section 18 of the Federal Court Act. Our application perhaps is premature, in that it could not properly proceed until a decision is made adverse to the citizen by the Cabinet. There is a review procedure all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

I should add that the Judicial Review procedure is much more restrictive than a normal avenue of Appeal. The procedure and legislation is seriously flawed in this regard. It creates two classes of citizens, those born in Canada, and those who obtained citizenship by choice. Decent citizens end up having fewer rights than refugees.

Once again, thank you for your interest in this matter. If I can be of further assistance to you, please advise.

Yours very truly,

{Eric Hafemann}