Immigration procedures in 1948

June 17, 2002

The Right Honourable Jean Chretien
Prime Minister of Canada
Special Committee of Council
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON

Dear Right Honourable Prime Minister,

I am writing to you regarding the June 19, 2002 meeting of the Cabinet Special Committee of Council, which will be deciding whether to revoke the citizenship of Wasyl Odynsky.

As you know, Federal Court Justice Andrew MacKay found no evidence "that Mr. Odynsky participated personally in any incident involving mistreatment of prisoners or of any other person during his service." Yet, Justice MacKay ruled that on a balance of probabilities, Wasyl Odynsky, was admitted to Canada for permanent residence in July 1949 on the basis of a visa obtained by reason of false representations. The "false representations" presumably were made by Mr. Odynsky while he was being interviewed by Canadian immigration officials prior to his admission to Canada. After Justice MacKay's ruling, a proposal was made to the Special Committee of Council within the Cabinet by the Minister of Immigration Mr. Denis Coderre to denaturalize Mr. Odynsky.

Now, back in 1948, at the age of 18, while applying to go to Canada, I also appeared before a Canadian immigration official and his interpreter. This procedure -- in the displaced persons (DP) camp near Munich , were we lived for about two years -- was known as "the screening ". As I remember, the latter lasted about three minutes. I was asked to identify myself and to read aloud about four sentences in Ukrainian, presumably to see if I was literate. It was rumored in the camp that one should not read too rapidly or too slowly, so as not to appear to be too smart or too dumb. So I steered the middle course.

That was it. There were no questions as to why or how I got to Germany or what I was doing during German occupation in Ukraine or in Germany. My father, my mother, and other applicants whom I knew, said their screenings were similar to mine. To my knowledge, the only applicants that were rejected were those whose X-rays showed their lungs infected with tuberculosis.

Upon coming to Canada in June 1948, my parents, my younger brother and I first completed our contract on a sugar beets farm in Alberta. Then, I completed my high school education; obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Toronto; became a Canadian citizen on 10 May 1955; got married and raised with my wife three children; and for 36 years worked as a professional engineer for an Ontario company.

The one-half century old screening issue revisited my mind only after I read about the Denaturalization and Deportation hearings for Mr. Odynsky and others. I started to ask various people who came to Canada after the 2nd World War of their screening experience -- who at the time were about 18 to 35 years old. They assured me that the health of applicants was of prime concern to the immigration officials. Other issues did not seem to be of interest to them.

As a result of the above, I conclude that in all probability Mr. Odynsky was not asked by the Canadian immigration officials about his past, hence he could not have made "false representations" at the screening. I am also convinced that by revoking the citizenship of Wasyl Odynsky a great injustice would be done to him, his family, his many friends and to the Canadian judicial system. I appeal to you Honourable Prime Minister -- please do not let this happen.


Leonid Lishchyna, P.Eng.
Toronto, ON

Cc: To all Honourable Members of Parliament of Canada and Senate of Canada