Elinor Caplan Hypocrisy

15 June 2002

The Honourable E. Caplan, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Caplan:

On 8 November 1999, you gave a talk to an audience of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem (see: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/press/speech/csyv-e.html) in which you recalled speaking to a friend who explained how his/her family had lied to Canadian immigration officials in Paris, just after the Second World War, in order to secure entry into Canada. Apparently, they made up a story about having a family member living in Canada (a requirement at the time) even though the individual was no more than a friend. On that basis these Displaced Persons (DPs) were allowed into Canada, with the apparent collusion of a Canadian immigration official who even went so far as to tell them that they "were going to a country where they would not have to lie any more."

Later in your speech you went on to suggest that there are Nazi war criminals living in Canada and that you were committed to ridding this country of such scoundrels (properly so, if there is evidence of any such persons being in Canada, evidence sufficient to stand up in a Canadian criminal court of law). Aside from opening yourself up to a "perception of bias" argument by making the comments you publicly did, I find your subsequent words particularly interesting. You said this government would take whatever steps were necessary to rid Canada of those who secured "entry and later citizenship...by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances." I presume lying to a Canadian official about having a family member in Canada constitutes fraud. So what should Canada do now about that family of DPs whom you know, who, in your own words, lied at our gates? I do not think that we can be selective in our interpretation of what a lie is, nor can we press for the denaturalization and deportation of persons against whom there is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing during the war just because they may have (a) not been asked what they did in the war, which is probable or (b) failed to volunteer that information as, like your friends, they struggled to rebuild their devastated lives after a cataclysmic war, which saw millions perish, Jews and non Jews alike, under Nazi and Soviet tyranny.

I trust you and your colleagues in Cabinet will not apply a double standard when you decide what to do with Mr Wasyl Odynsky next week. Your friends, in your own words, lied to Canadian immigration officials, were caught at it at the time, but were let in anyway by someone who, working amongst refugees in postwar Europe, knew enough to overlook their fraud because he could see they would become (and I am sure were) good citizens of Canada. Mr Odynsky proved, over a half century, that he was a good choice for this country. He worked hard, paid his taxes, raised a family, and did nothing wrong here. Judge Andrew MacKay found that he was not a Nazi, had not participated in any war crimes or atrocities and had been forced to serve under the Nazi occupation in Ukraine, his family members being threatened with severe repercussions if he attempted to run away. He did nothing wrong during the war that would merit his deportation a half century later, any more than your friends did. So I join those who have already written to say that Mr Odynsky should be left alone.

Lubomyr Luciuk, PhD
Kingston, ON