Ontario men lose citizenship for lying about alleged Nazi pasts
The Canadian government stripped two Ontario men of their citizenship Thursday, saying they lied about their Nazi ties when they came to Canada after the Second World War.
"These cases have been under consideration for a very long time," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement.
"Due process was followed according to the laws of Canada. It's time to move forward."
Both men — Helmut Oberlander ofWaterloo and Jacob Fast of St. Catharines — can have the government's decision reviewed by the Federal Court.
The decision puts them at risk for deportation. Immigration Minister Diane Finley has the final say on whether they are deported or not.
Both men have been involved in lengthy citizenship battles.
In 2000, the Federal Court ruled that Oberlander didn't reveal his involvement with a notorious mobile Nazi police unit when he immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in 1954.
Themobile unit, called the Einsatzkommando, allegedly killed more than a million people, mostly Jews, in the former Soviet Union.
The court found that Oberlander, a retired developer who is in his 80s,was not personally involved in the executions but worked as a translator for the Einsatzkommando.
Oberlander's citizenship had previously been revoked in 2001 but it was reinstated in 2004.
Fast's case landed in the Federal Court in 2003. The court concluded that when the retired General Motors employee immigrated to Canada in 1947, he lied about his German citizenship and his involvement with a German security police force attached to the notorious Schutzstaffel, or SS.
The court didn't find any evidence suggesting Fast, who is now in his mid-90s and has Alzheimer's disease, committed war crimes.
Decision an 'abuse of power': Liberal MP
Andrew Telegdi, a Liberal MP from Waterloo who has long demanded a complete reworking of the Citizenship Act, said the federal cabinet shouldn't be involved in citizenship issues such as Oberlander's.
"This is a total abuse of power," he said. "No politician should have that type of power."
But Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress applauded the government's decision to revokethe citizenship of Oberlander andFast.
"The government today, by acting on Oberlander and Fast, have basically now slammed the door on any others who would want to see Canada as a safe haven," Farber said.
Since 1977, Canada has stripped 54 people of citizenship. Seven of those cases related to the Second World War.
With files from the Canadian Press