By Facsimile to: (613) 995-9755
Honourable Denis Coderre
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Room 656-D, Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Coderre:
Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Alberta Provincial Council is an umbrella organization which acts as the official voice of Alberta's Ukrainian community and represents 300,000 Albertans of Ukrainian ethnic origin (12% of the population).
The Ukrainian community was shocked when it learned that on May 01, 2002 you, personally, recommended to a Special Committee of Cabinet that the citizenship of Wasyl Odynsky be revoked. We understand that this Special Committee meeting is to be held today, and we are also aware that a secret Cabinet meeting took place on July 12, 2001, at which the citizenship of Helmut Oberlander was revoked. We believe that issues such as this must be handled openly and discussed in Parliament before the Canadian public.
Mr. Odynsky is the latest victim of the government's ill-advised denaturalization and deportation policy instituted in January 1995 by Justice Minister Allan Rock. The Ukrainian community, in particular, and Canadians, in general, have made countless submissions to your predecessors Lucienne Robillard and Elinor Caplan and to Justice Ministers Allan Rock, Anne McLellan and now, Martin Cauchon protesting this policy. In our opinion, it is grossly unfair and a subversion of the Canadian justice system.
We are aware that the National Executive of Ukrainian Canadian Congress requested a meeting with you and the Honourable Martin Cauchon many months ago to discuss the issue. It is particularly disturbing that you would make your recommendation to revoke Mr. Odynsky's citizenship before meeting with the committee and hearing its concerns first hand.
We urge you to reverse your May 01, 2002 decision and encourage your colleagues in the Special Committee of Cabinet not to revoke Mr. Odynsky's citizenship.
We urge you and Mr. Cauchon to meet with the National Executive of Ukrainian Canadian Congress, as requested, as soon as possible.
We urge you to recommend to the Prime Minister and Cabinet that the denaturalization and deportation policy, as it relates to World War Two issues, be discontinued.
David R. Sereda, President
Members of Special Committee of Cabinet
Paul M. Grod, LL.B., Chair, UCC National Justice Committee