Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Alberta Provincial Council,
Government Issues Committee

Clark "genuinely interested" in D & D issue

(UCC - APC)--Progressive Conservative Leader Joe Clark is "genuinely interested" in the Denaturalization and Deportation (D & D) issue and will have his staff follow up on information relating to it, say members of a Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Alberta Provincial Council delegation which met with him at his Calgary Centre Constituency Office, May 25, 2001.

"He was very interested in the issue and he requested that we provide him with follow-up information and indicated he would have a member of his staff continue to monitor the process," said Bill Pidruchney, a former president of both the Alberta Council and the Edmonton Branch of the UCC.

Pidruchney said the key points made by the delegation were that D & D is a misuse of the Citizenship Act, that it is making refugees out of Canadian citizens, and that refugees who land in Canada have more legal rights than Canadian citizens who have lived here for 50 years, because there is no appeal process under the D & D policy.

"The main thrust of our message was that this is an abuse of judicial process and rights of Canadian citizenship that are fundamental to Canadian law and democracy," said Pidruchney.

Eugene Harasymiw, UCC - APC Director and Member of the council's Government Issues Committee, added that Clark asked whether the UCC had made any contacts with any other members of his caucus on the issue.

"I indicated that I had contacted Peter MacKay (MP, Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough) on the issue of (Justice Minister) Anne McLellan's retention of the services of Neal Sher."

In 1998 Sher, the former director of the US Office of Special Investigations, was hired as a consultant to the War Crimes Division of the Justice Department of Canada.

During Sher's appearance before the House of Commons Justice Committee on April 28, 1998, MacKay questioned his handling of the John Demjanjuk case - in particular the withholding of evidence which could prove Demjanjuk's innocence from defense attorneys.

Clark was presented with several documents including UCC National's position on D & D. In it UCC refers to a 1995 Department of Justice statement that says: "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."

Citing several recent court cases, UCC states that "the Canadian Government is not abiding by its undertaking to initiate proceedings against Canadians for events that occurred a half century ago only if there is 'evidence of individual criminality'.

"The UCC continues to assert that in cases where 'evidence of individual criminality' is uncovered, the Government of Canada should prosecute such individuals before Canadian courts of criminal jurisdiction in accordance with Canadian criminal law and Canadian standards of evidence in criminal proceedings.

"According to the UCC, the Canadian Government should not resort to denaturalization and deportation proceedings to deal with the issue of Canadians suspected of war crimes during the Second World War since:
"(a) such proceedings are inadequate to determine a person's guilt or innocence as a war criminal;
"(b) such proceedings suppose, therefore, that another country will address this issue in Canada's place; and
"(c) applications for immigration and connected documents have been destroyed in large numbers over the years by government employees.

Marco Levytsky,
Government Issues Committee