January 8, 1999 Faxed to: (416) 861-1291
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
229 Yonge St., Ste. 403
Attention: D. S. McLaughlin
Our organization, founded in 1927, has as its primary objectives the preservation of our cultural heritage and the promotion of the finest democratic ideals of Canadian society (which includes upholding basic civil liberties).
As you are no doubt abundantly aware, the federal government has been pursuing a policy of denaturalization and deportation in dealing with what the government (and the media) calls "Nazi war criminals" living in Canada. According to the wisdom of the federal government, since use of the criminal trial process yielded zero results (1989-1995) in "bringing war criminals to justice," it was decided -- with intense prompting from powerful lobbies -- to adopt the American model and proceed against these people using the civil procedure of denaturalization and deportation. This would be, in the government's words, a "more efficient" means of handling this problem.
When this short-circuit method of dealing with the alleged problem of war criminals in our midst is given closer scrutiny, some of the factors inter alia pointing squarely to a gross violation of the civil liberties of its victims include:
* removal of criminal law safeguards (i.e. trial by one's peers; onus on Crown to produce concrete evidence of wrongdoing; corroboration; etc.)to name but a few.
* use of lower civil law standard of proof (i.e. on a balance of probabilities) as opposed to criminal onus (i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt)
* use of civil law process to determine a matter criminal in nature Canadian Civil Liberties Association
* refusal of government to pay any defendants' costs, thus forcing "suspects" to leave Canada
* application of war criminality opprobrium to military units which were judged not to be such at Nuremberg (i.e. re-writing history)
* elimination of right to appeal,
We have searched media reports in vain for any protestations from your association or its branches against this underhanded procedure, which strips naturalized Canadians of the rights to which Canadian-born citizens are entitled. Can you provide us with some insight into why an organization such as yours, which one would think should be front and centre in opposing this vile and contemptible policy, remains stone silent? What exactly is your rationale for this unconscionable aloofness?
You can honour us with a timely reply, given that your organization has been clearly sitting on the fence on this one, hoping against hope that no one would notice how completely you have distanced yourselves from this burning issue.
Eugene Harasymiw, LL.B.
Alberta Civil Liberties Association - fax: (403) 543-6322
Michael Zaleschuk, National President, USRL of Canada
John Gregorovich, Chairman, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Assoc.
Peter Goldring, M.P., Edmonton East - fax: (619) 992-6898