Anne McLellan | Sep. 25, 1998 | Eugene Harasymiw
Compromising independence of Canadian judiciary

11024 - 82 Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 0T2
ph. (780) 431-9855; fax (780) 457-5170

September 25, 1998

The Hon. Anne McLellan
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Room 360, Justice Bldg.
239 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8

Re: Canada v. Peter Vitols

Dear Ms. McLellan:

A report in today's newspapers concerned reaction to the ruling of a Federal Court judgment that dismissed a denaturalization and deportation case against the above noted accused. Your department, in collaboration with Citizenship and Immigration, had attempted to run the accused out of Canada on the basis he had allegedly obtained his Canadian citizenship "by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances."

The report went on to state that you, along with the Canadian office of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies, were "disappointed that Vitols will be allowed to remain in Canada."

If these remarks can correctly be attributed to you, irreversible damage has been inflicted on the administration of justice in this and similar cases, in that:

  1. you have interfered with the adjudication of all future trials involving denaturalization and deportation cases (in relation to alleged actions of accused during World War II) by applying Ministerial pressure on those Federal Court judges trying such cases. Such a statement is clearly intended to influence those judges to reach a verdict favourable to your view on what the outcome of those trials should be; i.e. the denaturalization and deportation of the suspects.

  2. your remarks give the appearance that the trier of such cases is ultimately the Minister of Justice and not the courts of this country, which, as you are aware, is a denial of the independence of the Canadian judiciary. By expressing your reaction to the judgment in this manner, you have violated the most fundamental tenet of the Canadian legal system.

On any reading of your remarks, their effect can only be to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

This being said, we demand your resignation forthwith.

Yours truly,

Eugene Harasymiw
Alberta Ukrainian Self-Reliance League