A Canard and a Travesty

May 28, 2002

Hon. Ralph Goodale, Chair
Special Committee of Council
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON

Dear Minister

I was shocked to learn that Minister of Citizenship and Immigration had referred the case of Wasyl Odynsky to the Governor in Council with the recommendation to revoke his citizenship. That is a travesty and reflects more so on the government than on Mr. Odynsky.

The canard that Canada is a haven for NAZI war criminals is coming home to roost. If one accepts this premise for yesterday’s World War Two war criminals, why not a haven for today’s criminals in the war on terrorism? Both are absurd and farcical.

Why continue this pretence of justice? Revoking Mr. Odynsky’s citizenship will not make it right.

It all started with the best of intentions. Denaturalization and Deportation was supposed to be “a strategy aimed at deporting alleged WWII war criminals living in Canada” (January 25, 1995 Media release) “The key criterion in all these proceedings is the existence of some evidence of individual criminality. If that cannot be proven, no proceedings will be considered”.

Federal Court Justice Andrew MacKay found, even with lower standards of guilt, that there is no evidence "that Mr. Odynsky participated personally in any incident involving mistreatment of prisoners or of any other person during his service." He further qualified his decision by stating that “Wasyl Odynsky, was admitted to Canada for permanent residence in July 1949 on the basis of a visa obtained by reason of false representations” was based on a balance of probabilities [1], and not on evidence or proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to the government’s own criteria, that should have stopped the proceedings. It did not. This whole Nazi Denaturalization and Deportation process has become suspect. A process when, during a hypothetical interview, that no one can prove took place a half century ago, the accused was asked a hypothetical question (that no one can prove was asked), to which the accused gave a hypothetical response (that no one can prove he did), that is today judged to have been probably untrue and to have been material when it was hypothetically given.

Add to that the fact that there is no appeal of this Federal Court decision, the Minister’s recommendation to revoke Mr. Odynsky’s citizenship stands in stark contrast to the Liberal Party’s tradition as advocates of civil liberties. Pierre Elliot Trudeau must be rolling over in his grave.

As an ex-serviceman I placed myself in defense of my country Canada in the past. I am willing to do so again. Since you are revoking Canadian citizenship for no good reason Minister, take my citizenship and let Mr. Odynsky keep his.


V. Halchuk

[1] “[227] This Court finds, on a balance of probabilities in considering certain key factual issues, ...”