NEWS RELEASE

Andrew Telegdi, M.P.
Kitchener-Waterloo

Contact: Reevin Vinetsky 613-996-7890
Kitchener, ON
Jan. 09, 2004

CITIZENSHIP UPDATE


ONTARIO SUPERIOR COURT RULING OF IMMENSE SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS OF NATURALIZED CANADIANS

HALTS DEPORTATION HEARING
WILL INVESTIGATE ALLEGED MISCONDUCT OF GOVERNMENT COUNCIL AND INFRINGEMENT OF CHARTER OF RIGHTS & FREEDOMS


Robert Reilly, Justice of the Ontario Superior Court ruled to hear the application of Helmut Oberlander that seeks to quash the Order in Council that revoked his citizenship on Tuesday, January 6, 2004. He will decide whether the revocation process fell short of according Mr. Oberlander the principles of fundamental justice such as fairness and due process guaranteed in section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.

The proceedings of the Governor in Council (the Cabinet or a tribunal thereof) are held in complete secrecy with neither the accused nor his counsel present. Further, no record of the proceedings of the hearing is made available and the detailed reasons for the decision are not disclosed to the accused. It is of greatest importance that the composition of the tribunal is public knowledge, as any minister who sat on the committee who was involved in the prosecution would be in a conflict of interest situation.

In his ruling, Justice Reilly stated:
"A revocation of citizenship engages both liberty interests and security of the person. However, if revocation of his citizenship was not justified, was not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice, then the impact on his liberty and his security cannot be tolerated.     the process before the Governor in Council and whether such process was in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice requires determination by this Court."

Oberlander's application also alleges that the Government committed a fraud on the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997, which influenced that Court to allow his revocation case to proceed and ultimately resulted in the loss of his citizenship. His application claims that in an act of malicious prosecution, counsel for the government, despite knowing full well from evidence of its own witnesses that they could not prove that he committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, told the Supreme Court that it would prove this to be true. They were unable to do so in Oberlander's subsequent Federal Court reference.

A finding by Justice Reilly that the revocation process in the Citizenship Act abrogates Section 7 of the Charter would represent a landmark decision and change the current and any future citizenship legislation. Further, it would support the position of grassroots Liberals across Canada who overwhelmingly believes that this process is flawed and must be changed. The provincial branches of the federal party in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec passed policy resolutions that state:
"the Government of Canada ensure that in cases of citizenship revocation, questions of fact and law, and guilt and innocence must be determined by the normal judicial process, free from political interference."

Justice Reilly also granted an interim stay of proceedings against the continuation of the inquiry before the Immigration and Refugees Board with respect to Oberlander's deportation hearing, pending disposition of the merits of his application to quash the Order in Council that revoked his citizenship.

Andrew Telegdi, M.P. for Kitchener-Waterloo resigned his position of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on May 16, 2000 because he so strongly opposed the flawed and unjust citizenship revocation process in the exiting and the proposed Citizenship Act.

Mr. Telegdi, who came to Canada as a refugee in 1957, is one of the six million Canadians by choice and continues to lead the fight to correct "a fraudulent citizenship revocation process". He has vehemently argued that decisions in revocation cases should be made by the justice system with appeal rights in accordance with the legal rights section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that states:

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

He is delighted that Justice Reilly will be hearing legal arguments on an issue that he feels is so central to the security of person of every naturalized Canadian and is encouraged that the issues that relate to citizenship rights will be heard in the judicial arena.

Contact our office for a copy of the ruling of Justice Reilly and for more information on citizenship issues go to our web site at: www.telegdi.org.

-30-