CIMM 033 | Feb. 14, 2003 | Eugene Harasymiw
Summary of USRL submission

Ukrainian Self-Reliance League of Canada
Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Coast Terrace Inn, Edmonton, Alberta
February 14, 2003

The written submission prepared by USRLC, dated December 31, 2002 and forwarded to the Clerk of the Standing Committee on January 13, 2003 sets out the position of our organization in relation to Bill C-18.

While USRLC supports the efforts of the state to deal effectively with any citizen who can be found to have engaged in criminal activity outside Canada prior to his entry here, such dealing must be conducted only in the proper forum, never by violating the individual's civil liberties, and never on a selective basis. Bill C-18, as presently written, invites all these undesirable, unconscionable and unnecessary consequences.

We will leave the critiquing of many civil liberties violations found primarily in section 17 to those who are (or profess to be) civil libertarians. I am referring to:

  • Court not being bound by legal or technical rules of evidence
  • Court basing decisions on any "evidence" considered credible and trustworthy
  • Reception of "evidence from unnamed sources in Canada or the government of a foreign state (as in farcical reports before the Deschenes Commission)
  • Court hearing "evidence" in absence of accused or his counsel
  • The preposterous assertion that secret proceedings can result in the accused being "as fully informed as possible"
  • Judges use of "evidence" inadmissible in a court of law
  • Use of balance of probabilities to decide citizenship status
  • Removal of right of appeal, and so on.
  • The root of the problem posed by Bill C-18 and the present Act lies in the use, in sections 16 and 17, of the vehicle of stripping a person of their Canadian citizenship and then deporting them, based on allegations that the individual acquired that citizenship "by false representation, fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances".

    By and of itself, "false representation, fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances" may be useful in certain limited situations; however, it is absolutely inappropriate where accusations involve criminal activity and where no other proceedings related to that alleged criminality have been taken. The worst example is found in the government's record since 1995 in dealing with Canadian citizens who have been charged with illegally obtaining their citizenship by supposedly hiding war criminality.

    In short, our objection is the use of citizenship proceedings in sections 16 and 17 as a substitute or surrogate for criminal proceedings in the proper forum -- i.e. a criminal court of law. Only when the individual has been found guilty of criminal activity, based on an onus placed on the state of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt, should the matter then proceed to deal with the person's citizenship. USRLC's Recommendations No. 2, 4 and 5 deal with that point.

    The application of the grounds of "false representation, fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances," ostensibly to deal with allegations of war criminality, from 1995 to the present, has exposed serious shortcomings in the 9 cases decided so far. This process, as abundantly set out in our Submission, has:

  • Created two-tiered citizenship
  • Removed the due process rights of its victims
  • Based most of its so-called "evidence" on KGB supplied mendacity
  • Perverted the maxim dealing with validity of official acts
  • Stretched the concept of "collaboration" to suit present-day lobby-inspired demands
  • Unlawfully utilized the unsupportable notion of "complicity" (found nowhere in the legislation)
  • Invited flagrant misuse or misapplication of the rules of evidence
  • Perpetrated the notion of "guilt by association"
  • Toyed with the concept of "materiality" to the detriment of the accused.
  • In summary, any time that the government uses a process against its citizens like that proposed to be continued in sections 16 and 17 of Bill C-18, it represents a triumph of those who oppose transparency, integrity and the principles of a free and democratic society. The institutionalization of the process of citizenship revocation, found in Bill C-18, without regard to its destructive impact, can only result in minimizing the humanity of a targeted segment of its citizens. Such legislation must be vigorously opposed. The USRLC will not sit idly by and watch Canadians of Ukrainian descent, or anyone else for that matter, continue to be demonized and savaged by an un-Canadian process. It is incumbent on this Standing Committee to impress upon Parliament that "frontier justice" must not be allowed to drive any legislation, and that politics must never again be allowed to wear the mask of justice.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Eugene Harasymiw, B.A.(Hons.), LL.B.
    Chair, Civil Liberties Standing Committee
    Ukrainian Self-Reliance League of Canada