Ex-Nazi death squad member loses fight to restore Canadian citizenship

Ex-Nazi death squad member loses fight to restore Canadian citizenship
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Then in December 2012, Ottawa filed another order-in-council to revoke his citizenship. The move was challenged by Oberlander in Federal Court and dismissed in 2015. In June 2017, the government revoked the retired land developer’s citizenship for the fourth time, and another legal challenge ensued. In November, the court ruled in favour of the government and Oberlander once again took the case to the appeal court.

In his latest appeal, Oberlander had argued that Justice Michael Phelan was biased because the judge had previously — in 2008 — made a finding in his case that he contributed to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

“The mere fact a judge was involved in an earlier decision and made findings adverse to a party does not, in and of itself, give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias,” wrote Justice Richard Boivin in a unanimous decision on behalf of colleagues Donald Rennie and Yves De Montigny in closing the file.


“To proceed from the assumption that a prior adverse finding of the fact was made … constitutes a foundation for bias would have serious implications for the administration of justice.”

In a statement to the Star Thursday, Oberlander’s daughter, Irene Rooney, said the family was devastated with the appeal court decision.

“The case has been in the Canadian courts for 24 years and is of national importance. We have previously won three times in the Federal Court of Appeal,” she wrote.

“Mr. Oberlander is now 95 years old. He has health issues. He wants nothing more than to have his Canadian citizenship and his reputation restored. He was proudly granted his citizenship in 1960, almost 60 years ago, and has had to endure government challenges for 24 years despite major victories in the Canadian courts.”

Farber said he is “both relieved and troubled” that the case has dragged on for so long.

“It sent out the wrong message that if you committed this kind of crime, you still got to stay in Canada for decades if you know how to play the system,” he said.

“Age should not be an excuse in matters of enabling the Nazi war machine. Let us remember these people as they were at the time, young, committed bullies of a brutal murderous regime. Many people were murdered simply because they were Jewish. They never had the opportunity to see life. This crime cannot be forgiven.”

Oberlander’s lawyer Ronald Poulton said the family is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, which must be filed in 60 days.

With files from Debra Black and The Canadian Press

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter covering immigration. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung

With files from Debra Black and The Canadian Press

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter covering immigration. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung



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