Ukrainian News | 15Nov2006 | Editorial

National Post promotes Ukrainophobia

The National Post on November 9, 2006 published yet another grossly Ukrainophobic article by David Matas in which the self-styled "human rights activist" once again totally twisted the truth in an attempt to get cabinet to violate a court ruling by revoking the citizenship of six immigrants from Ukraine -- four of them, Vladimir Katriuk, Wasyl Odynsky, Jura Skomatczuk and Josef Furman being ethnic Ukrainians, the other two, Helmut Oberlander and Jacob Fast, being ethnic Germans.

In taking cabinet to task for failing to "rubber stamp" the revocation of citizenship, Matas most conveniently ignores a Federal Appeal Court ruling which very clearly tells the government, it "cannot apply the war criminals policy to a person unless it first satisfies itself, to use the very words of the policy, that 'there is evidence of direct involvement in or complicity of war crimes or crimes against humanity'."

Surely a person who claims to be a "human rights activist" can see the obvious truth in the statement "unless´┐Ż 'there is evidence of direct involvement in or complicity of war crimes or crimes against humanity'"!

But that's not all. Matas also makes the following incredibly misleading statement.

"Needless to say, these men have their apologists and fellow travellers -- people who claim that these poor fellows have been badly treated; people who distort the federal court's words, pretending they exonerate these men; people who, in the name of law reform, clamour for a new law which would change what has been to date a practical immunity for their collaborating friends into a legal one."

We may safely assume that one of these "apologists and fellow travelers" is this newspaper.

First, let's talk about distortions. When the Federal Court of Appeal states "in face of the express finding by Mr. Justice MacKay that no evidence was presented about any personal involvement of Mr. Oberlander in war crimes", who is distorting the federal court's words -- Ukrainian News, or David Matas?

Now let's examine Justice MacKay's exact word in the Odynsky case.

"In considering any report to the Governor General in Council concerning Mr. Odynsky pursuant to s-s. 10(1) of the Act, the Minister may wish to consider that
1) on the evidence before me I find that Mr. Odynsky did not voluntarily join the SS auxiliary forces, or voluntarily serve with them at Trawniki or Poniatawa, or later with the Battalion Streibel;
2) there was no evidence of any incident in which he was involved that could be considered as directed wrongfully at any other individual, whether a forced labourer-prisoner, or any other person;
3) no evidence was presented of any wrongdoing by Mr. Odynsky since he came to Canada, now more than 50 years ago;
4) evidence as to his character from some of those who have known him in Canada, uncontested at trial, commended his good character and reflected his standing within his church and within the Ukrainian community in Toronto."

Again, who is distorting the court's words - Ukrainian News, or David Matas?

Now, let's deal with "apologists" like this newspaper who "clamour for a new law which would change what has been to date a practical immunity for their collaborating friends into a legal one".

It just happens to be a parliamentary committee and a federal court that found the current Citizenship Act violated the Charter of Rights. And that same parliamentary committee recommended a change in the law.

But maybe Matas and the National Post consider Ukrainian Canadians to be "second-class citizens" who don't deserve to have their Charter rights protected.

Such bigotry is utterly reprehensible.