Elderly Helmut Oberlander again appeals stripping of citizenship

TORONTO — A 94-year-old man found to have lied about his membership in a Second World War Nazi death squad has launched yet another appeal of the government’s decision to strip him of his Canadian citizenship.

In his latest development in a now-decades-old case, Helmut Oberlander argues among other things that a Federal Court judge who affirmed the government’s action last fall should have recused himself from the case.

Oberlander, of Waterloo, Ont., also tells the Federal Court of Appeal that the ministers of citizenship and justice should not have taken part in the government’s decision-making. Both have been involved in the proceedings against him and could appear biased, he says. However, he says he has been unable to find out if they were involved.

The retired businessman, who potentially faces deportation as Jewish groups have demanded if the citizenship revocation sticks, wants the case returned to Federal Court for a hearing by another judge.

The office of Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen did not respond to a request for comment. Canada Border Services Agency, which would be tasked with any enforcement action, had no immediate comment.

In September, Federal Court Judge Michael Phelan sided with the government, which had revoked Oberlander’s citizenship in June 2017 for the fourth time since the mid-1990s. The government maintained he was complicit in war crimes by belonging to Einsatzkommando 10a, known as Ek-10a. The notorious squad was responsible for killing close to 100,000 people, most Jewish.

The Ukraine-born Oberlander, who came to Canada in 1954 and became a citizen in 1960, has long argued he was conscripted into the unit as a 17-year-old and risked execution had he tried to leave. He has insisted he acted as an interpreter and took no part in its savagery.

While Phelan said no evidence existed that Oberlander was involved in any atrocities, he did find it reasonable to strip him of his Canadian citizenship for misrepresenting his war-time activities when he immigrated.

In reaching his conclusion, Phelan said a 2000 ruling from Federal Court Judge Andrew MacKay found Oberlander to have been aware of the unit’s brutality and complicit in its war crimes by acting as an interpreter.

However, Oberlander’s lawyers Ronald Poulton and Barbara Jackman argue in their appeal notice that Phelan misinterpreted MacKay’s decision and was in fact leaning on his own previous ruling from 2008 — one that was upended on appeal.

“Justice Phelan sat in judgment on his own previous finding — the very finding which the GIC relied on to support its conclusion on complicity,” the lawyers argue.

Phelan also refused to “certify a question of serious importance,” sharply curtailing Oberlander’s right to appeal. Oberlander’s lawyers argue the provision is unconstitutional because it does not comply with the principles of fundamental justice.

“In Mr. Oberlander’s case, only his ability to seek appellate review and win at that level has prevented six separate miscarriages of justice that would have resulted in the revocation of his citizenship,” Poulton and Jackman say. “The deleterious effect of the measure in his case is a serious prospect of being made to suffer without recourse.”

Poulton and Jackman have refused repeated requests to discuss the case and Oberlander’s daughter, who has defended her father, has not returned previous calls for comment.

Just Posted

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it’s investing $3.7 billion to move… Continue reading

Red Deer College introduces safety app

Safe RDC provides reliabilty and speed

Alberta farmers await Saskatchewan court decision on carbon tax

Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association applaud Saskatchewan government

Halifax fire claims seven Syrian refugee children: ‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’

HALIFAX — Seven children, all members of a Syrian refugee family, died… Continue reading

Pro-pipeline protest convoy reaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolled up… Continue reading

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Vancouver duo faced health scare while making Oscar-nominated ‘Animal Behaviour’

TORONTO — Husband-and-wife filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine had almost finished… Continue reading

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard drops second-round match against Simona Halep

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is out of the… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

Most Read