Menu JTA Search

Jewish Delegation Submits Brief to Canadian Govt. on Various Issues

A brief covering a wide range of major areas of concern to Canadian Jewry was submitted to the Canadian Government in Ottawa by the Canadian Jewish Congress today.

The brief was discussed by a Canadian Jewish Congress delegation headed by president Michael Garber with a number of Canadian Cabinet members. The topics discussed included legislation to combat hate propaganda, the status of the Jewish community in the Soviet Union, the statute of limitations for prosecution of Nazi war criminals, the international convention on elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights, war criminals in Canada, and re-union of Jewish families of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

The federal officials taking part in the conference were Finance Minister Mitchell Sharp, Transport Minister John W. Pickersgill, Indian Affairs and Northern Affairs Minister Arthur Laing, Labor Minister John R. Nicholson, Fisheries Minister Hederd Robichaud, Veteran Affairs Minister Roger Teillet, and Guy Favreau, president of the Queen’s Privy Council. Paul Martin, Secretary of State for External Affairs, could not attend because of conferences with visiting United States Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg.

The brief noted that the CJC had studied the Report of the Special Committee on Hate Propaganda and said that the Congress believed moral issues also were present “in addition to strictly legal ones and must be met. ” “We believe that in no democratic society must free speech be the instrument for self-destruction nor for unbridled attacks of vilification and outrageous abuse, ” the brief declared. It suggested that “appropriate legislation for amendments to the Criminal Code should no longer be delayed” and that the required legislation “be enacted at the present session of Parliament.”

OPPOSES SUGGESTED CURTAILMENT OF IMMIGRATION OF CLOSE RELATIVES

On the question of immigration, the brief referred to a joint proposal of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Canada and the Canadian Jewish Congress submitted to Jean Marchand, Citizenship and Immigration Minister, about seven weeks ago. The Jewish leaders again urged that the Government reject a portion of a report which would substantially curtail immigration of close relatives, unless their occupational skills alone would allow entry.

The brief recalled that Mr. Martin addressed a rabbinical conference in Ottawa two years ago on the problems of Soviet Jewry and added that “today, two years later, we are happy to find improvements in the position of the Jews in Russia. ” However, the brief added, “only the constant interest of the outside world induced these changes and we have evidence of the manner in which the authorities of the USSR are susceptible to world opinion.”

The brief advised the federal officials that the Canadian Jewish Congress will convene a conference on Russian Jewry in Montreal on May 29 and that the delegates to that conference will consider a number of submissions to be made to Soviet authorities. The brief asked that the Prime Minister and Mr. Martin do all in their power through governmental resources to encourage amelioration of the position of Soviet Jewry.

The brief urged that the Canadian Government, at all levels of international diplomacy and at the forum of the United Nations, foster the view that war crimes and crimes against humanity “can have no time limitation as to prosecution.”

URGES ACTION ON NAZI WAR CRIMINALS RESIDING IN CANADA

The brief also considered the issue of war criminals in Canada. Acknowledgement was made of the fact that there were known murderers and accessories before and after the fact in Canada, the United States, the South American countries and Australia. The brief added that “it is unlikely that they will ever be brought before any courts for their heinous capital crimes.”

The brief noted the policy of the Canadian Government of refusing to deport landed immigrants or residents to face trial in the absence of extradition legislation. The brief added that while the legal position was “correct and justifiable, ” there was “something fundamentally wrong for a civilized country, with high and respected traditions of justice to allow known murderers to live their lives untouched in Canada, unmolested and unpunished, with all the advantages of Canadian citizenship obtained by misrepresentation.”

The brief declared that if it was considered unwise “in the larger concept of legal systems, ” to legislate specially for such cases “and thus radically change Canadian policy, ” then “surely the least that can be done is to deprive these killers and perpetrators of genocide of their Canadian citizenship.” The brief added that a government policy should be declared on this matter “so that some form of justice be applicable to deal with these perpetrators of heinous crimes.”

NEXT STORY