Sudbury Star | August 11, 2001 | Volodymyr Halchuk

Caplan creates two-tier system

The road to hell is paved with good intentions


Re: Nazi past costs man his citizenship -- August 11, 2001

And well it should if he was involved in war crimes. Justice Andrew MacKay ruled he was not. Yet, a select group in cabinet must justify spending millions of our tax dollars on a five-year wild goose chase.

Elinor Caplan, minister for citizenship and immigration, knew it was wrong. Yet she recommended to cabinet that they revoke Mr. Oberlander’s citizenship and deport him. In order to get cabinet support for her recommendation, Caplan clearly waited until most members were on summer holidays. Some cabinet members did not know about this decision until July 17, 2001. Why, when previous documents and actions by the government were widely publicized, was this crucial document kept secret from the public?

In February of 2000, Federal Court Justice MacKay ruled that there is no evidence that Mr. Oberlander of Waterloo Ontario was involved, either directly or indirectly, in any crimes against humanity.

Yet he concluded that even when not asked, "on the balance of probabilities", in 1953 Mr. Oberlander must have withheld from immigration officials that he was a translator for German army units during the Second World War.

Neither Justice MacKay, nor the Canadian government produced any proof that this was the case. Why was Mr. Oberlander required to prove something he did not do? We now have one law for immigrant Canadians and another for those born here. What’s next? It shouldn’t be just the German-Canadian Congress objecting to secret and restricted Cabinet decisions that strip away Canadian citizenship on a presumption and not on evidence.

Just as communism went astray, so has the policy of denaturalization & deportation. In the name of something good, something else altogether is being done. The prosecution of Second World War criminals is one thing, but the persecution of Nazi victims/survivors to demonstrate commitment is wrong. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, I just did not expect my Canada to be on it.

V. Walter Halchuk
Director Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Sudbury Office