To: Joseph Volpe | Feb. 09, 2005 | Peter Goldring

February 9, 2005

Hon. Joseph Volpe, PC, MP,
Minister of Immigration,
658 - Confederation Building,
House of Commons INTRA

Dear Minister Volpe:

Re : Proposed Deportation of Wasyl Odynsky

I am writing to you concerning the proposed deportation of the above-referenced individual, whose circumstances are a matter of extensive public knowledge. I have previously written on this issue one of your predecessors, the Hon. Denis Coderre, who is no longer in Cabinet. In my opinion, the case of Mr. Odynsky illustrates the importance of the exercise of ministerial discretion being based on a dispassionate examination of facts and circumstances, within the larger context of acting with integrity and in a manner that does not cause our immigration system to fall into disrepute.

As you know, Mr. Odynsky is facing deportation based on a determination that, on balance, he must have misrepresented his World War II associations to Canadian immigration officials at the time of his application to immigrate to Canada. It has been determined that there is in fact no evidence to support this conclusion, but that the conclusion is instead one derived from suppositions as to administrative practices of Canadian immigration officials at the time of Mr. Odynsky's entry to Canada. Mr. Odynsky's activities during World War II have been judicially determined to exclude any involvement in war crimes. It has also been judicially determined that Mr. Odynsky's association with a German SS auxiliary unit was not voluntary, but was the result of the coercion of a Ukrainian teenager.

In my view, given Mr. Odynsky`s age and his unblemished record of over fifty years as a Canadian citizen, a decision to deport him based on supposed misrepresentations as to World War II associations, unsupported by evidence, is patently unreasonable. I also draw your attention to the significant efforts by Mr. Odynsky, over the last seven years, to successfully clear his name, including the exhaustion of his retirement savings. On balance, there would appear to be ample grounds for Ministerial discretion or clemency to be exercised by you. I note that, over the past three years, there was been no action on the part of Cabinet to approve the proposed deportation order of Mr. Odynsky. I respectfully submit that such inaction, coupled with no judicial finding of war crime participation on the part of Mr. Odynsky, should be sufficient grounds to permit Mr. Odynsky to continue the balance of his life in Canada, as a valued contributor to his community and as a Canadian citizen whose actions are substantially beyond reproach. Delays of this nature are frequently grounds to stay proceedings in a court and should be grounds for the exercise of Ministerial discretion in this case to stay the deportation proceedings of Mr. Odynsky. I hope that you will agree. I look forward to receiving your views on the foregoing, at your earliest possible convenience.

Yours truly,
Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament, Edmonton East