Jean Augustine | Aug. 02, 2002 | Eugene Harasymiw
Form letter defending d&d

10611 - 110 Ave.
Edmonton, AB T5H 1H7
Phone/fax: (780) 457-5170

August 2, 2002           Faxed to: (613) 992-5880

Hon. Jean Augustine
Secretary of State (Multiculturalism)
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Madame Minister:

Lubomyr Luciuk, Ph.D., has brought to our attention the urgency of responding to a form letter which you have adopted and are sending to your constituents in response to their concerns regarding the denaturalization and deportation process, in general, and the case of Wasyl Odynsky, in particular. We have compared that letter to ones received by our office over the past year or so from your fellow Ministers McLellan, Caplan and Coderre. These letters were, for all intents and purposes, identical.

As each of the government Ministers' responses was received, it was our impression that each reflected the folly and lack of understanding of only that particular Minister. Apparently, that affliction permeates the entire government.

Allow me to dismember each and every point in the government's absurd form letter, in the order in which the points appear - using Mr. Odynsky's case as a reference.

1. Your assurance "that all Canadians are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms" is patently false. Your advisors either have no knowledge of the Supreme Court decision in Tobiass (which followed the reasoning in Luitjens), or else they are quite frankly attempting to ignore that decision. Our highest court held that the proceedings in a Federal Court trial involving denaturalization and deportation do not qualify to extend to the accused Charter rights. The courts held that such proceedings "are not determinative of the [accused's] legal rights." It appears that the task of researching this fundamental point is beyond the competence of government Ministers' staff.

2. You claim that "all Canadians have the right to due process under the rule of law." Does your government actually understand these concepts? If so, then are you stating that included under "due process" and "the rule of law" are the following:

  • Illegally obtaining "evidence" from accused
  • Violating the accused rights during deceptive police interviews
  • Using KGB supplied "evidence"
  • Subjecting accused to "reverse onus" of proof
  • Forcing accused to show why evasive action was not taken
  • Removing accused's right to Legal Aid
  • Deciding citizenship on balance of probabilities
  • Decision rendered despite lack of documentation and absence of prosecution eyewitnesses.
  • 3. You claim "the process of revocation of citizenship has been the same for 30 years." Women were not given the vote for a lot longer period than that in Canada. Would you similarly argue that this state of affairs should have continued, giving as your reason that such was the case for decades prior to any change? The fact is that the process for revocation of citizenship has never been used to deal with so-called "war criminals" over that 30-year time period, and your advisors should have the honesty to admit that. They don't; and neither do you.

    4. You claim the process "affords an appropriate procedure and sanctions while ensuring proper legal safeguards." If that is the case, why was Canada's leading expert on evidence and procedure, retired Justice Roger Salhany, in a critique of the reasoning used by the same judge who decided Mr. Odynsky's case, able to point out four fundamental flaws in that decision? These same flaws permeate most of the other decisions as well:

  • Admission of and reliance upon evidence which was not admissible in law
  • Making of erroneous findings of fact from evidence, and subsequent reliance on those findings to reach a conclusion
  • Drawing of unreasonable inferences from the testimony of a witness, and then placing reliance on that inference in reaching a conclusion
  • Failing to apply the correct onus of proof or incorrectly applying that onus.
  • When you state that the sanction of revocation and eventual deportation are "appropriate," which country's standards are you applying? Are you saying that these two sanctions are "appropriate" where a case has no documentary evidence, no prosecution eyewitnesses, is decided on less than a balance of probabilities, and specifically holds that there is no evidence of war criminality on the part of the accused?

    5. You claim that cases are referred to the Federal Court "for an independent review of the facts." When you use the term "facts," you are obviously confusing that word with the term conjecture. Do facts flow from first-hand eyewitnesses - like those produced by the accused - or from senile "yes-men" who once worked at Immigration, but who never once were directly involved in the matter, being prepared to "testify" only as to how things were supposed to have run a half century ago in a land they never set foot in?

    6. Your contention that an accused is permitted to make submissions to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is laughable. If such submissions are made, why wouldn't that Minister simply reply that a court of law has already decided the issue? The point here is that:

  • The Minister initiates the process because he/she believes the accused entered Canada illegally
  • The Minister receives the recommendation of the Federal Court judge and only that Minister makes a determination that the matter proceed to Cabinet's Special Committee of Council
  • The Minister completes this circular travesty by sitting on the Special Committee, which makes the final determination as to revocation!
  • This brings to mind the expression: "judge, jury and executioner", and such a process has no place in the Canadian justice system.

    7. You claim the matter goes from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration "to Cabinet." Not so. It goes to the Special Committee of Council, on which both the Minister of Citizenship and the Minister of Justice sit! The former Minister alone decides the timing of when the matter is to be placed on the Special Committee agenda. Of course, if he/she wishes to have the matter proceed, he/she waits till the "right" people are present at that meeting.

    8. You state that "Cabinet [sic] considers all elements of the case´┐Ż[etc.]" Only those Cabinet members present on that particular occasion of a meeting of the Special Committee would hear elements of the case.

    9. You claim the avenue of judicial review is available to the accused. Are you also prepared to tell your readers how much such a "benefit" costs the accused? Do you want to mention that your government spends between one and a quarter to one and a half million dollars per case? Do you want to mention that the accused has to pay out of his own pocket for government trips to Europe in the hope of gathering evidence in his own defense? Are you saying this is "fair"?

    10. You state the process has been challenged "up to the Supreme Court of Canada and has been upheld." Please provide me with the case citation that said precisely what you claim. The only matter that has been challenged is the removal of the accused's Charter rights. As stated, that removal was upheld in Tobiass.

    11. You go on to use the expressions "citizenship obtained through serious fraud or misrepresentation" and "through concealment of information that would have barred entry to Canada in the first place" and citizenship "obtained under questionable circumstances" as though you actually knew what those expressions meant, and that they applied to "d&d" cases.

    Three Federal Court judges have concluded that the types of information allegedly concealed by the accused was not material to their application to enter Canada. That several others held the opposite, and that several others made no pronouncements on the question (i.e. the issue was irrelevant) is not an indication the process is fair, but that the accused are subjected to a "judicial lottery."

    12. Furthermore, you make the incredible and totally outrageous claim that your government "remains committed, regardless of time, place or age of the individuals, to revoke the citizenship of those involved in war crimes and who entered Canada by false representation." I believe your government is more interested in serving the narrow partisan objectives of one lobby group which greases Liberal coffers regularly with generous campaign donations. By concentrating on bogus "war criminals" of World War II vintage, our streets are full of terrorists, underworld criminals, gangsters, thugs, murderers, fake refugee claimants, and an assortment of con artists who continue to enter and remain in Canada with impunity.

    13. Your lecture on the meaning of section 18(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act is fatuous at best. Your government has totally perverted the meaning of "false representation or knowingly concealing material circumstances." It has done this by inflicting on innocent Canadians concocted accusations of misconduct that Federal Court judges continue to hold are neither war crimes nor atrocities. Yet your government persists in its silly pursuit of "justice" through the circuitous argument that, because it can't find any accused guilty in a proper forum, it imagines that it has done just that through the make-believe world of denaturalization and deportation.

    To conclude, in pursuing the denaturalization and deportation policy, your government has succeeded in prostrating itself before one isolated lobby group. Your only notable achievements in this vein are:

  • Accomplishing indirectly that which you cannot accomplish directly
  • Making "membership" in a group tantamount to a criminal offence, thereby violating one of the most fundamental principles of criminal law
  • Ignoring the historical realities of humans caught in the maelstrom of the Second World War
  • Responsibility for convoluted court decisions which utilize numerous fundamental errors in the application of the rules of evidence; and
  • Sacrificing civil liberties on the altar of political expediency.
  • In short, the present government has succeeded in bringing the justice system in this country into irredeemable disrepute.

    Yours truly,

    Eugene Harasymiw, LL.B.
    Chair, Civil Liberties Standing Committee
    Ph. (780) 476-3581


    Hon. Denis Coderre Fax: (613) 995-0114

    Hon. Martin Cauchon Fax: (613) 995-9755

    Hon. Anne McLellan Fax: (613) 943-0044

    Michael Zaleschuk, National President, USRL