Goldring defends Odynsky

September 13, 2002

Hon. Denis Coderre, PC, MP,
Minister of Immigration,
648-D Center Block,
House of Commons

Dear Minister Coderre:

Re : Proposed Deportation of Wasyl Odynsky

I am writing to you concerning the proposed deportation of the above-referenced individual, whose circumstances are a matter of extensive public knowledge. I have chosen to become involved with Mr. Odynsky's case at the request of members of the Ukrainian community in Edmonton and elsewhere; my wife is also of Ukrainian descent. As you know, Mr. Odynsky is facing deportation based on a determination that, on balance, he must have misrepresented his World War II associations to Canadian immigration officials at the time of his application to immigrate to Canada. It has been determined that there is in fact no evidence to support this conclusion, but that the conclusion is instead one derived from suppositions as to administrative practices of Canadian immigration officials at the time. Mr. Odynsky's activities during World War II have been judicially determined to exclude any involvement in war crimes. It has also been judicially determined that Mr. Odynsky's association, as a Ukrainian teenager, with a German SS auxiliary unit was not voluntary, but the result of coercion.

In my view, given Mr. Odynsky`s age and his unblemished record of over fifty years as a Canadian citizen, a decision to deport him based on supposed misrepresentations as to World War II associations, unsupported by evidence, is patently unreasonable. I suggest further that, even if such misrepresentations had evidentiary support, the significant efforts that Mr. Odynsky has spent over the last five years to successfully clear his name, including the exhaustion of his retirement savings, is sufficient cause for Ministerial discretion or clemency to be exercised by you. I note that, over the past year, there has been no action on the part of Cabinet to approve the proposed deportation order of Mr. Odynsky. I respectfully submit that such inaction, coupled with no judicial finding of war crime participation on the part of Mr. Odynsky, should be sufficient grounds to permit Mr. Odynsky to continue the balance of his life in Canada, as a valued contributor to his community and as a Canadian citizen whose actions are substantially beyond reproach. I hope that you will agree. I look forward to receiving your views on the foregoing, at your earliest possible convenience.

Yours truly,

Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament, Edmonton Centre-East