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Trudeau Defers Answer to Charge That He Aided War Criminals

Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau refused to comment on allegations by Alti Rodal, author of a semi-secret report on Canada’s immigration policy, that he privately vetoed taking legal action against suspected Nazi war criminals in Canada.

Interviewed here by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Trudeau suggested that Robert Kaplan, who was solicitor general in the early 1980’s, could better explain the government’s decisions on the prosecution of suspected Nazi war criminals.

“I know what the story says,” Trudeau said. “The facts speak for themselves. I think you should speak to Robert Kaplan. He was the minister at the time, and he knows the facts.”

Since April 1987, Kaplan, a Liberal Member of Parliament, has been prodding the Progressive-Conservative government to honor its commitments and introduce legislation which would allow prosecution in Canada for atrocities committed elsewhere.

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Kaplan held the same views while Solicitor General in the Trudeau government, but he was unable to convince Trudeau to proceed with an investigation in the case of alleged Nazi war criminals.

Kaplan was also among the first to call for release of the Rodal Report, the unpublished portions of the Deschenes Commission research into Canadian policy regarding alleged war criminals.

Last December, Justice Jules Deschenes recommended prosecution of 20 suspected war criminals in Canada and continued investigation of allegations against 218 others. However, Rodal’s report was made public only last week in censored form after reporters’ requests under the Freedom of Information Law.

Rodal told the JTA that sections of her 560-page study detailing Trudeau’s opposition to the prosecution of Nazi war criminals were censored when her report was made public. Kaplan was unavailable for comment.

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