Dangerous criminals

From: Paulette MacQuarrie
To: [email protected] [Vancouver Province]
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2001 10:50 AM
Subject: letter re dangerous criminals

Dear Editor,

Thanks to Adrienne Tanner for bringing to light our government's bizarre policy of harbouring dozens of dangerous criminals ("Dangerous" criminals escape deportation, Sunday May 13, 2001). What is even more appalling is that these unsavoury individuals who are deemed "a danger to the public" are enjoying a level of compassion and safe haven that is being denied to some Canadian senior citizens.

Your story overlooked the fact that the same government unwilling to deport dangerous criminals is all too eager to deport innocent Canadians on the basis that they "probably lied" about questions they were "probably asked" when they immigrated to Canada some 50 years ago.

The courts have found no evidence of criminal activity on the part of these men in Canada or elsewhere, nor even that they lied to Canadian immigration officials when they immigrated after WWII. One such man, Wasyl Odynsky, was even deemed by the judge to be "a citizen of good character." Nevertheless he will soon be stripped of his citizenship and deported because powerful people in government have decided that he is "probably" a WWII war criminal.

Hapless elderly Canadians such as Odynsky are even denied the right to appeal this capricious decision. Unlike the criminals described in your article, they have no government lawyers or high-profile civil libertarians fighting for their rights; nor has the media displayed much interest in publicizing their plight.

Sadly for us, as long as Canadians are willing to tolerate such gross injustice, we will continue to have dangerous criminals living freely amongst us while innocent senior citizens who helped build this country are quietly being disenfranchised and deported on a political whim.

Paulette MacQuarrie
Coquitlam, BC