Ukrainian Canadian Liberal Committee

Another blow to denaturalization and deportation

The Liberal Government's use of the Citizenship Act to strip naturalized Canadians accused of war crimes of their citizenship ("Denaturalization & Deportation") was reviewed at a policy conference of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario), held in Toronto on Saturday, September 21, 2002.

Among some 170 resolutions that were reviewed by the participants of the policy conference was Resolution 75, proposed by the Federal Liberal Riding Association of Waterloo (Andrew Telegdi, MP). The resolution called upon the Government of Canada to "ensure that in cases of citizenship revocation, questions of fact and law, and guilt or innocence [must] be determined by the normal judicial process, free of political interference."

The current Citizenship Act does not provide for appellate review of the findings of the Court hearing the application for revocation of citizenship and, instead, it is left to Cabinet to accept or reject the recommendation of the Federal Court in each case.

Borys Wrzesnewskyj, President of the Federal Liberal Riding Association of Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Jean Augustine, MP) and Chair of the newly-formed Ukrainian Canadian Liberal Committee, stated: " The process as it currently stands is wide open to political interference and makes Cabinet a court of appeal, a role for which it is not suited. It also deprives naturalized Canadians of the protection of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They in fact become lower caste Canadians as a result of the place of their birth."

Resolution 75 was rated among the top ten resolutions of the Ontario Liberal policy conference. "This ensures that this issue will find its way onto the national policy agenda of the Liberal party," stated Wrzesnewskyj.

A similar resolution has been ranked among the top ten issues at a recent British Columbia Liberal policy conference, and is expected to be debated at an upcoming conference in Manitoba. "This signals that the grass roots of the Liberal party expect the government to place a moratorium on current proceedings, until such time as new legislation is enacted - legislation which respects the principle of equality of all Canadians before the law and which places the process in the hands of an independent judiciary, beyond the reach of political interference," said Wrzesnewskyj.

The policy conference took place only days after media reports that Denis Coderre, Minister of Citizenship & Immigration, is having second thoughts about the use of the denaturalization and deportation process under the current Citizenship Act.

Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Chair UCLC
(416) 231-1491
[email protected]

Alexandra Chyczij
Policy Chair, UCLC
(416) 231-4084
[email protected]