What is Right

May 28, 2002

Right Honourable Jean Chretien
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons

Dear Prime Minister,

I have learned that shortly Cabinet will be making a decision regarding the fate of Mr. Wasyl Odynsky. The choice: to let him stay in Canada or to extradite him for unproven allegations of having lied upon entry here.

As you very well know, Prime Minister, we live in complex times where it is hard to pinpoint the veracity of events, in particular international conflicts, be it in the Middle East or elsewhere, and categorically to ascribe fault. It is that much harder to ascertain whether a 17 year old village kid had the wherewithal and, equally important, the authority to commit crimes that have been leveled against him.

Furthermore, as Justice MacKay in his statement regarding the case wrote, it is very difficult, if not impossible with a 50 year hindsight to determine whether Mr.Odynsky knowingly lied about his association with the occupying forces of Ukraine, the Germans, upon entering Canada after the War.

The purpose of this letter is to ask you and members of Cabinet who will be deliberating on this matter to give an aging man the benefit of doubt and to render a decision on the human rather than the vengeance side of justice. This would be, it seems to me, the Canadian way of handling the case.

Please allow Mr. Odynsky to live out his remaining years in Canada. His suffering must be immeasurable.

With firm belief in your and your Cabinet colleagues' sense of what is right and with warm regards I remain yours truly,

Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Past National President
Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation
Executive Member, Ukrainian Canadian Congress