Kitchener-Waterloo Record | 12Jul2007 | Eric Vernon

PUBLICATION: The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge And Waterloo) DATE: 2007.07.12
EDITION: Final SECTION: Opinion PAGE: A6 BYLINE: Eric Vernon

Finding misrepresented

Regarding the Insight page commentary in the July 6, 2007 Record, Conservatives Wrong To Press Oberlander Issue, of July 6, to further his longstanding aim of exculpating Helmut Oberlander, Andrew Telegdi has consistently misrepresented the meaning of Justice Decary's ruling for the Federal Court of Appeal in 2004 that quashed the previous government's revocation of Oberlander's fraudulently-obtained citizenship.

In his July 6, 2007 Record article, Telegdi does so again, stating that Decary "explicitly told the federal government it cannot revoke anybody's citizenship, certainly not Oberlander's, without providing evidence of war crimes."

In fact, the decision was not such a blanket indictment of the revocation process. It cited two procedural errors in the government's report to cabinet recommending Oberlander's denaturalization after the Federal Court Trial Division had determined that the Crown had made its case that he had lied about his involvement in Einsatzkommando 10A. One of these errors involved factoring in the "personal interests of the accused" and the other indicated concern about whether the report to cabinet satisfactorily indicated Oberlander's case had met the criteria of the government's war crimes policy involving complicity in war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Rather than appeal this decision, an amended report was sent to cabinet which corrected the procedural errors. Presumably the revised report indicated that Oberlander's life of rectitude since coming to Canada did not buy him a pass from his activities as a translator for an SS mobile execution squad that murdered thousands of innocent people, and that his membership in this specially-designed killing unit had, in fact, satisfied the government's war crimes policy.

The Stephen Harper government is to be commended for denaturalizing Oberlander as a matter of fundamental justice and in the interests of protecting the integrity of our precious Canadian citizenship.

Eric Vernon
Director of Government Relations
Canadian Jewish Congress