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 Whistleblowers Need Protection




Fortunately for the Paszkowski family, Brad Willis, their new counsel, proved a formidable legal matador. His first win, a large one, was obtaining an injunction from Justice James Foster of the Alberta Queen's Bench. It barred Immigration officials from sending Paszkowski to Poland on October 6, 1992 as they had planned.

Willis provided the court with an affidavit from Paszkowski chronicling his activities in Canada and outlining some of the reasons for his fear about returning to Poland. He had refused to apply for a Polish passport, he swore, because he "believed and still believes that if I returned to Poland my life would be in danger from my former colleagues in the Polish Security Police. I left Poland because of my opposition to the then communist government. Many of my former colleagues are still in positions of power; many would fear exposure by me. I personally know that there are many political murders occurring in Poland; for example, the former Polish prime minister, Piotr Jaroszewicz and his wife were found murdered on September 2, 1992. Furthermore, the situation in Poland is still so disorganized that the police, to the extent that they can be trusted, are incapable of protecting me or anyone".

The statement provided to the court by Dr. Alexander Matejko, a much-respected retired sociology professor at the University of Alberta, probably carried much weight with the court. "According to my best knowledge", Matejko wrote, "it is reasonable to assume that in the case of Mr. Paszkowski being deported to Poland he may be endangered by his previous colleagues and bosses because the present day police force in Poland is not strong enough to provide him with adequate protection during the day and night." Matejko has personal knowledge of contemporary Poland because of his frequent trips there in recent years. A number of other Canadians of Polish origin who also know current conditions there well have expressed a similar view to me. The threat remains very real from SB members there who would like to settle accounts privately for his work with CSIS against them should he ever come within their grasp.

With the injunction in hand, Willis applied again to have Paszkowski released on bail and was successful. Edmonton Immigration officials could hardly object further to his release in the face of the injunction from the highest court in Alberta. A new work permit was also soon issued by the department, renewable every three months. In a petty gesture, it requires Ryszard not to leave Edmonton by more than 50 km. or to take any academic, professional or vocational training courses. Despite the cold shoulder many employers turned towards him, he continues to be a self-supporting taxpayer.

Immigration's next initiative was to attack the jurisdiction of the Alberta Court to issue an injunction against Bernard Valcourt as the then Minister of Immigration and his officials. Willis demanded the right to examine Robert Ferguson on the long affidavit he filed in support of the Minister's motion to set aside the injunction. Taking the reasonable view that Paszkowski's relationship to CSIS was highly relevant to whether the department should now be allowed to deport him, Willis also attempted to question Ferguson as the only official available to him on various CSIS issues. On the advice of the Justice department lawyer, Ferguson refused to answer all of Willis' questions dealing with that relationship. The unanswered questions related to some highly relevant issues, including:

"Are you able to confirm that Mr. Paszkowski, when he came to Canada in 1984 under the name of Robert Fisher, did so with the assistance of Canadian authorities?"

"Has your department taken steps to confirm Mr. Paszkowski's alleged employment with CSIS?"

" ... what contact has there been since 1984 between your department and anyone from either CSIS or the RCMP concerning Mr. Ryszard Paszkowski?"

"Is your department able to confirm that between 1984 and 1986 when he lived in Edmonton under the name of Robert Fisher, Mr. Paszkowski was paid by CSIS?"

"Paszkowski is being prosecuted ... under the Immigration Act in that he obtained permanent residence by use of a false document in 1984 ... are you able to confirm that ... (that charge) was stayed at the request of your department?"

"Since May 29th, 1992, when you took steps that ultimately led to issuing the warrant of arrest for Mr. Paszkowski, has your department had any communication, made any communication to, or received any communication from anybody from CSIS with regard to Mr. Paszkowski?"

The position of Bruce Logan, the Justice department counsel for the Immigration Minister at the discovery, was predictable. Quite frustrated, Willis finally asked Logan outright if he would be objecting to any questions of Ferguson that related to any kind of communication between CSIS and the Immigration Department. "That is correct," replied Logan.

"Just to save time, I take it that your position on behalf of the Crown is that any questions about Mr. Paszkowski's relationship to CSIS would be improper?"

"That is correct," said the other.

Willis later asked Ferguson to ask CSIS whether it or any persons known to it, such as the RCMP, assisted Paszkowski in arriving in Canada in 1984 using the name Robert Fisher. This too was refused by Ferguson on the advice of Logan.

Finally, Willis asked: "With regard to all the questions I have asked about what Mr. Ferguson's department may know about CSIS, I take it that you would ... decline to make any undertaking to ask CSIS itself any of the matters about which I have inquired, is that correct?"

"That's correct and an obvious corollary to my earlier objection," said Logan.

Willis immediately filed a motion seeking to compel Ferguson to answer the disputed questions. Judge Delmar W. Perras of the Court of Queen's Bench rejected his application, basically on the view that the questions went beyond the essential reasons why Justice Foster had barred the Minister of Immigration from removing Paszkowski from Canada. In short, Judge Perras thought the seventeen questions were irrelevant as to whether Paszkowski should be removed. The provincial Court of Appeal later essentially agreed with this finding, so the matter was eventually sent back to trial to continue.

In the spring of 1994, the case was adjourned without setting any date for continuation pending the outcome of a case in the Supreme Court of Canada involving the same essential issue, ie. whether a provincial court can hear a Charter of Rights challenge to a provision of the Immigration Act. Argument has been heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on Reza vs. Minister of Immigration and the decision could come any day. Depending on which way it goes, Willis and Paszkowski could soon find themselves back in court. If Reza loses, Paszkowski would in all likelihood see the injunction quashed and Immigration officials would soon be at his door attempting to execute their exclusion order.

Only two obstacles would then face our Immigration officials. The first is that the two most logical countries, Poland and Germany, have both refused to accept him. One Polish government official recently told me that he saw no reason to "ruin Paszkowski's life" by breaking up his family.

The second lies in the fact that as of the spring of 1994 Paszkowski was evidently able to apply under our immigration laws for immigrant status on the basis that he has been rehabilitated since his conviction in Germany a full decade earlier. The Immigration department's manual boasts in politically correct words that, "Canadian immigration law recognizes that a person's past criminal convictions should not forever bar his/her admission to Canada if he/she appears to have re-established himself/herself as a law-abiding member of society". It goes on to set out three levels of relief from the criminally inadmissible provisions depending on a person's age at the time of conviction, the seriousness of the offence and the length of time which has elapsed since termination of the sentence imposed. One section of the manual speaks about the need for five years to have elapsed since the termination of the sentence imposed, presumably for very serious matters, and two for less serious ones. There is also provision for a minister's permit to allow someone to stay where the statutory applicable period has not expired. Elsewhere, immigration officials are directed to look at various matters before recommending rehabilitation, including the person's efforts to rehabilitate themselves, employment, family life and standing in the community.

In lighter moments, Paszkowski jokes that our Immigration bureaucrats would really prefer to send him to Bosnia if authorities there could be persuaded to accept him. He adds that he has never held a legal passport in his entire life. Communist Poland wouldn't issue them to most citizens, including intelligence agents, for fear they'd escape. Since his arrival in the West, all his travel has been on illegally-obtained documents. The one thing that he and Ela are clearly concerned about is that their personal safety is best guaranteed within Canada.

It was reported in the Polish media in early 1994 that the Canadian embassy rented a ballroom in one of the most expensive hotels in downtown Warsaw to host Polish citizens at an information session on opportunities to immigrate to Canada. Those eligible to be considered were those between 22- and 44-years of age; have completed high school and hold a trade school diploma or university degree; speak English and/or French; and have a required amount of money. Why would Immigration officials mount two such expensive campaigns simultaneously: one to deport Paszkowski and devastate his family, who have already taken root in Canada; the other inviting newcomers from his former homeland?



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