PHOTOS: Omar Khadr, left, with his Edmonton lawyer, Dennis Edney, at right. Mr. Edney’s wife, Patricia Edney, is in the middle. (Photo: CBC) Below: Mr. Khadr at age 14, not long before his capture by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in July 2002, and Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
If you have ever wondered if the Canadian Taxpayers Federation isn’t really what it purports to be – to wit, a “tax watchdog” – but is in reality a partisan organization that acts in knee-jerk support of the electoral and policy objectives of Conservative Party of Canada, yesterday’s press release by the group provides compelling evidence.
In the release, the CTF added its not inconsequential voice to the barking chain of denunciations emanating from Conservative Party circles for the Trudeau Government’s decision to compensate former child soldier Omar Khadr for Canada’s role in the gross violation of his human rights during his imprisonment at the U.S. torture camp in occupied Guantanamo, Cuba, and afterward.
Even conservative-leaning commentators who still have some faith in the idea of due process before the law recognize that the oft-cited “conviction” by an American drumhead tribunal of a 15-year-old child packed off to Afghanistan by his irresponsible father and caught in a firefight where something happened was the work of a legal tribunal that would have embarrassed a kangaroo. Many of them, like the National Post’s Colby Cosh, have said as much, to their great credit.
Conservative partisans like Alberta Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney – possibly feeling some angst about his own role in the long torment of Mr. Khadr by a long line of Canadian politicians, including some prominent Liberal ones – was quick to attack Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the decision. In Mr. Kenney’s judgment, I suppose, this is preferable to actually talking about the policies he would enact if he got the job he is running for.
Soon after the Alberta PC leader began to Tweet, the CTF was Johnny on the spot with its press release, wherein Federal Director Aaron Wudrick called the payment “highly offensive” and directed readers to a petition ginned up by the organization to call on Ottawa to rescind the package.
Now, Mr. Wudrick is trained in the law, as are two of the CTF’s six-member Board of Directors – which also comprises, as has been pointed out on more than one occasion in this space, the CTF’s only legal membership.
So it is quite likely the Government of Canada does not have the option of simply rescinding the compensation package – at least not without invoking the Notwithstanding Clause of the Constitution, an action that would stir up some opposition, one imagines, among those who still think the rule of law has a role in a civilized society.
Moreover, legal challenges like the sort that would be required to carry out the policies demanded by Mr. Wudrick and the CTF cost money too, if only to pay the lawyers who conduct them.
I’ve not seen a recent report of the cost of the serial efforts by the Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper (in which Mr. Kenney served in several important cabinet posts) to keep Mr. Khadr out of the country and in jail, but it is bound to be significant.
In the fall of 2009, the Toronto Star reported that Ottawa had spent $1.3 million fighting the cases brought by Mr. Khadr’s lawyers. More than seven years have passed since then, and I am prepared to bet quite a bit more money has been spent on this.
Now, I have never met Mr. Khadr, but I have met his lawyer, Dennis Edney, and Mr. Edney does not strike me as a man who gives up easily – especially when he thinks he has the wind of righteousness at his back, as he believes in this case.
So if the government of Canada were to take the advice of the CTF – the supposed “tax watchdog” – the result almost inevitably would be to cost Canadian taxpayers an awful lot more money, both in the cost of the compensation package we would ultimately have to pay to Mr. Khadr, and in the cost of the government’s response to his legal case – significant parts of which would end up in the pockets of lawyers.
Never mind the cause. What kind of a “tax watchdog” starts a petition demanding that a government, which is acting prudently with our money, piss more of it away?
A “tax watchdog,” of course, that is in fact a partisan organization acting in support of the Conservative Party – which used Mr. Khadr’s tragic case as a cynical wedge issue when Mr. Harper was Prime Minister and continues to do the same thing now that Andrew Scheer is its national leader and Mr. Kenney is the aspiring leader of its Alberta auxiliary.
If you ask me, that is indeed strong evidence the CTF is not what it says it is, but is a partisan political organization whose pronouncements ought not to be treated so reverentially by the media.
As for the Conservative Party, it seems clear it is an organization that has very little regard for the rule of law.
You could call the CTF a “Political Action Committee” or “PAC” – but Minister Christina Gray and the NDP have steadfastly refused my calls for stricter regulation of and transparency for PACs. As a result, we don’t know who is funding these kinds of organisations- it could be Russian money!
Much more likely it is the Koch’s, the Mercers, and their ilk. And some of our home grown billionaires, perhaps.
Another great post, David, thank you. I am pleased you ran the photo of Omar when he was 14, just to remind readers of how young he was. Much has been said about how Omar was 15 when he was involved in the firefight, but I haven’t seen anything about how young he was when his father dragged him over to Afghanistan.
I would assume that just like any other civil suit that is settled out of court, the government’s lawyers took a look at how likely the suit was to be successful, and how much a successful suit would have cost, and struck a bargain that would avoid a costly trial. It is too bad the Liberal government hasn’t sold it that way, but I expect doing so would undermine the apology that is also part of the settlement.
Meanwhile, all the outrage from Jason Kenney, Brian Jean and other former CPC cabinet ministers, under whose watch the majority of the abuses occurred (and hence ran up the abuse tab we are going to pay for) really does sound like the old adage “The best defense is a good offense”
Pardon my cynicism, but I suspect they also looked at how politically awkward a trial could be, with officials testifying under oath.
You mean like Harper avoided during the Duffy trial?
CTF is funded primarily by conservative philanthropic underwriting. It does not identify its funding base, yet claims to be non-partisan (does this sound like the Fraser Institute, the Manning Centre or the National Citizens’ Coalition?).
Funded primarily by anonymous corporations to weaponize conservative political parties, the CTF is a lobbying group, dressed up as a non-profit, used as a means of laundering economic aims that coincide perfectly with the interests of their corporate funders. Suggesting for even a moment that they have the well-intentioned interests of taxpayers in mind is odious.
Like the skunk at a garden party, the CTF should be as far away from the Omar Khadr debate as possible.
Here is Maher Arar’s Twitter comment on the Khadr situation:
“Those bigots complaining about Mar Khadr’s compensation would be asking for $1B if a fraction of what happened to him happened to them,” and, “Let’s set the record straight. O. Khadr was tortured & the Canadian government was complicit. this is regardless whether he committed a crime or not.”
Then, in consideration of a certain amount of support for the Conservative Party by the religious right, there is this consideration of what Jesus might say about torture:
“5 Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong. And why there should be no exceptions.”
One of the ways Khadr was tortured early on, maybe even before Guantanamo, was when he had 3 open gunshot wounds to his chest after he was captured. His head was covered with a bag and dogs were allowed to rip away at his chest. Then, what went on at the USA Guantanamo prison, with the Canadian government’s knowledge, is horrifying. The methods of torture there can be researched online. That Khadr is still alive is probably a miracle.
This is why Omar Khadr would be getting compensation. If Canadian folks do not wish for this sort of compensation to be paid out, then, perhaps, it might be decided that it would be wise to get your citizens out
these sorts of situations sooner rather than later, and, to avoid them, as what should have been done with Maher Arar and the others who have been wrongfully detained, tortured and received compensation by the Canadian government.
Doesn’t matter. He should not be compensated. He should be happy that he is still a canadian citizen. He should be happy that his family is allowed to stay in canada. Who knows how many Canadians or allies he killed prior to this incident. This settlement can be debated, but in my eyes as a canadian he fails in every regard. It should be his parents who are found responsible not the Canadian tax payer.
Au contraire, it should be Harper who is responsible for paying out.
We should all be happy that our own families are allowed to stay in Canada. In my eyes Khadr exemplifies the best qualities of what it means to be a Canadian. His life story when it is written should be made mandatory reading for all Canadian H.S. students.
It does matter. In reality, Khadr was going to get a settlement one way or the other. The other way, the way that the federal Conservatives wanted, was to keep fighting this in court to the tune of $millions of taxpayer’s money in legal fees, and knowing that they would lose, again. This, with the possibility of an even higher settlement. The Conservative’s take on it would be that they had done their best to fight it, even at more expense….totally playing to their base and not respecting our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, despite the Supreme Court ruling that the rule of law was broken.
How this cannot be understood is mind boggling.
The way to fix this, if there ever is another time, is for the federal government, both Liberals and Conservatives, the black cats and the white cats, all cats, is to not break the law. As has been said, the federal government is not above the law.
Problem is that the Conservatives don’t respect the law and they don’t respect the Charter of Rights. We clearly cannot trust them to stand up for all Canadians’ rights.
Today someone tweeted this great scene from A Man for all Seasons
Why not PC and Liberal MP start impeachment process for removing PM out of office for misuse tax payer money..
Wouldn’t it be great if Canada did have an impeachment process. We could have used it to toss Harper and his gang of miscreants out of office. Sadly, Canada has no such process.
We could start with a criminal investigation into Harper’s finances.
You sound like Andrew Scheer, is that you Andrew?
For all those feigning faux morally outrage, to disguise their obvious anti-Islamic bigotry, let me make this very simple.
Three times the supreme court sided with Khadr in his claim that his constitutional rights were violated. Regardless of your political strips his rights were indeed violated – those are what we reasonable people call “facts”.
The resolution along with the payout was offered by the government, because the alternative would have been losing a court case and paying even more.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Khadr, he had a iron-clad case and the law was on his side. Don’t like that? Too bad, then move to a country that does not respect the rule of law, and would violate your rights at will. Even in Harper’s Canada, the rule of law prevails.
I agree completely with the premise the Canadian Taxpayers Federation should stick more to being a watch dog of government spending rather than jumping eagerly into political debate.
Whether they or anyone else likes the payment or not, the financial issue was whether it would be better to settle at this point or have the government continue to pursue this in court and likely lose and spend more doing so. Apparently the advise the government lawyers gave was better to settle now. I expect the Prime Minister understood the financial costs and the political ones too and concluded he should follow their recommendation.
Now what the taxpayers federation generally considers a “waste” of government money is very political and designed to appeal to their base, many of whom support the Conservative Party. You know, arts funding, culture funding grants for university studies particularly in the social science areas. Interestingly, they often don’t seem to consider lawyers fees a waste. Perhaps that is because several of their very few actual members are lawyers.
In any event while I don’t agree with a lot of their opinions about what is waste, they have the right to their opinions and extract money from conservatively minded supporters who share these political opinions. However, I wish they were honest in that and not claim to be non partisan when they are often just an echo chamber for the more right wing conservative parties.
The Khadr settlement is a good example of where a truly non partisan watchdog would have come to a different conclusion than a partisan or politically motivated one.
Except that the Canadian Taxpayer Federation is NOT a watchdog of government.
Instead, they are a right-wing advocacy group pushing US -style Republican ideology in Canada.
So, there’s that!
it seems like with present western political trends and governments, one doesn’t need to go into debt for education, spend years to build career, etc.
just sign up to terrorist organization, kill fellow countryman (or even better several), let to catch you and put into prison and after few years of “harsh prison life” with free accommodation, meal, healthcare and dental paid by relatives of those, who was killed by you, just after returning to freedom go and demand few millions of compensation. dream life isn’t?
Val you kind of forget the whole being dragged by your father to a foreign country; the getting shot, (3 times) resulting in a devastating chest wound by those ‘fellow country men (actually Americans)’ who were attacking you, the long term improperly treated infection that required hours of surgery; the losing an eye; the long term torture; the years of incarceration; the complicity of your own government to fail to support you; the 3 times the SCC ordered the government to act on your behalf and they essentially failed.
Yep not really a dream life unless you are a sadist wishing it on others.
put yourself in situation, where in combatant action 15 y.o.does point a gun at you with intention to kill. you have gun as well and chance to survive by killing this teen. would all mentioned by you conditions (dragged by father, chest wound, etc.) stop you from killing and you will prefer sacrifice your own life just to do not get labeled as “sadist”?
you see the big problem in Canada and other western world people with your mindset, who’s so hard tries to looks libertarian hipsters, that even do not notice their actions in fact ruining society which kindly allowes them to be hipsters, gays and whatever else they want to be.
how many cases do you know that westerner military personnel was captured, spared life and after few years of imprisonment in Middle East was let go free with millions of dollars of compensation?
Val you have certainly proposed am interesting alternative fact set. However the ‘ facts ‘ you purpose bare no relation to what happened so I feel no need to respond to whatever dimension you gleaned your discussion points.
sure, that’s more difficult task than to cry loud about charter right of poor teen, even if this teen are cold blooded killer to whom Canada and canadians are enemies.
my point was simply to hint you and others hipsters – Omar Khadr life was spared, instead of being shot on the spot (what usually does the side, he was fighting for), was treated of his wound, he was pulled from foreign prison and was bring to Canada, do not got stripped off his canadian citizenship and was let go free even earlier than he or anyone expected.
is that’s not enough?
i won’t be much surprised after paying his lawyer and kicking back some percentage to a high profile governing politicians behind the scene, this “child soldier” will disappear with remaining millions in some muslim country with sea beach. at same time canadian veteran, mutilated by the mine set by Omar Khadr, will continue to attend food bank and shelter for homeless.
That last post verged on English. Keep trying!
Put yourself in the place of being a Canadian-born citizen who’s own government colludes with the US to deny you your Charter Rights.
Put yourself in the place of a 15-year old who is being tortured for a confession, while your own government purposely does nothing about it.
Put yourself in the place of a 15 year-old who spends 10 years in jail, and who misses the best years of his life.
Put yourself in place of Khadr who wants to get on with his life, but Neocons and other racists won’t let him, and continue to persecute this your man.
Put yourself in the place of this victim who wins 3 separate Supreme Court cases, yet the Harper regime and their bigoted supporters still treat him as a criminal and resent a bargain basement settlement of 10.5 mil, when he could have got 20 mil.
A soldier got killed during a firefight. It’s unfortunate, but I think most gun-totting soldiers who fire bullets probably expect to be shot at and possibly killed no?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if US soldiers could kill their enemies at will and never be killed? Isn’t that a little naïve?
But the case isn’t about killing it was about his Charter rights being violated – and the were.
normally, moment, a person’s turns against his/her country, it lose all privileges, granted by citizenship and law of this country.
guess what, in perverted view and mind of nowadays lefties, the law abiding, loyal to own country and democratic values the citizens, deserves to be maimed or killed with no much concerns from the state and those who killing in the name of Allah and mindset of own superiority over “infidels”, should be greeted as a heroes and be rewarded by millions of dollars, taken away from canadian veterans many of whom struggle to survive in democracy, which they did protected paying for by their lives and health.
Val, Read the USA military’s multiple different versions of what happened. Khadr was buried half-dead under rubble from bombing. The author below is a former Crown prosecutor. Here:
What if Omar Khadr isn’t guilty?
July 7th 2017Sandy Garossino
Would you trade places? This is about what Canadian govt did wrong, the supreme court agreed 3x. A fourth try would just be silly. Did you read the article
there no any kind of court decision or even hint to one, which obligate Canada or canadian government to pay any sort of settlement. payment of 10.5 millions to de facto convicted and not cleaned of charges or pardoned criminal is a decision of an acting Prime Minister and his close cohort.
Everything you just wrote is wrong.
1. Pardoning a criminal is a decision of a Prime minister’s close cohorts – what cohorts are those?
2. Government lawyers determined that paying out the 10.5 mil was cheaper than paying out 20 mil, so they settled.
3. The US conviction is illegal and would not survive an appeal to a higher court. Why is it illegal?, because the tortured him to get a statement.
4. There were 3 Supreme Court decisions that found in favour of Khadr. All those would have made his victory in court inevitable. In other words, there was a 100% chance the government would lose, and have to pay out 20 mil.
2. Pardoning a Canadian citizen who was tortured for a confession, is not necessary? Wrong
Whatever you do don’t let the facts get in the way of your bigotry.
1. Khadr did NOT sign up to join a terrorist organization. He was a child soldier forced into it by his father.
2. Khadr did NOT kill fellow countrymen. He was born in Canada and never killed a Canadian.
3. Khadr went to Guantanamo Bay. That is an illegal prison and that’s why it isn’t in the US mainland.
4. Khadr was TORTURED in Guantanamo Bay. That’s a lot worse than “harsh prison life” as you put it.
5. Khadr will NEVER enjoy a dream life. Mostly that’s because of hateful people like you who refuse to consider FACTS.
Omar Khadr was born in Ontario in September 1986. His father moves the family to Pakistan in 1986 and Omar lives there till 1995. Omar’s father gets arrested for bombing the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, but is set free after our illustrious Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien goes to bat for him with the Pakistani Prime Minister.
The Khadr’s return to Canada briefly, but Omar’s father starts his own “humanitarian relief group” and moves the family to a Taliban camp in Jalalabad where they live in Osama Bin Laden’s compound.
In 1995 Omar and his brother begin arms training with the Taliban. The family makes annual trips to Canada to raise money and supplies, some of which ends up in Terrorist hands.
In 1999 the Khadr family moves to Kabul. In September 2001 Omar’s father’s name is put on an FBI terrorist list related to the 911 terrorist attacks. In November 2001 U.S. forces chase the Taliban out of Kabul. The Khadr’s flee to the father’s orphanage in Lugar. In June 2002 Omar completes weapons training and works as a translator for Al-Qaeda, and is utilized as a spy for U.S. troop movements.
In July 2002 Omar plants a number of improvised explosive devices allegedly intended for U.S. Targets. I believe that Canadian troops are in the area as well. In July 2002 Omar is shot and seriously injured after throwing a grenade that takes the life of a U.S. Medic, and blinding a second U.S. soldier. Omar is saved by the very soldiers that he was trying to kill.
In October 2002 Omar is shipped off to Guantanamo Bay.
From reading the above, it’s hard to classify Omar Khadr as anything other than a Canadian of convenience. He assumes his citizenship when it suits his purpose. He spent most of his life overseas associating and training with terrorists.
And please don’t give me the “Child Soldier” crap. He was 15 years old. At 15 you are responsible enough to have a learner’s driving permit in this country. You can be tried as an adult for crimes such as murder.
His father may be a waste of skin, but most kids at that age are somewhat rebellious and they sure as hell know the difference between right and wrong. Prime Minister Trudeau is trying to pass this off on the previous Conservative administration. It seems to me that if Chretien would have kept his nose out of it, maybe the Khadr family wouldn’t be a Canadian issue. And Omar was shot, detained and tried by U.S. forces. How suddenly are we civilly responsible for breaching the rights of this individual who probably spent less than 3 years of his life in Canada and had no qualms about putting Canadians and their allies in danger.
Is anyone naive enough to think that a good portion of his $10.5 million dollar settlement won’t be sent to sponsor terrorist activities? Omar’s eldest brother was arrested in December 2005 in Canada for allegedly being an Al-Qaeda gun runner. He had recently returned to Canada after serving a year in a Pakistani Jail. Omar’s father died in a firefight in January 2004 and was identified as a “deputy” to Osama Bin Laden. Another of Omar’s brother’s was shot in the firefight that took his father’s life and was paralyzed. The grandmother launched a lawsuit against Canada, and Ontario says they would assume responsibility for the family’s health care. The Khadr family has been self-described as “an Al-Qaeda family”. It was reported that they cheered and celebrated the 911 World Trade Center attack.
How do we owe these people anything! How did they ever get citizenship in Canada anyway? Oh ya, the bleeding heart Liberal Government. A $10.5 million dollar settlement to a terrorist with the terms being announced on the 4th of July. This is a slap in the face of every military veteran and every American.
The slap in the face of every military veteran came when Harper’s government showed a complete disdain for our Canadian veterans.
That slap was compounded when Harper chose to violate Khadr’s rights which all Canadian veterans fought to uphold to stamp facism.
Those complaining about Khadr would feel more comfortable in a facist regime where no Canadian has any rights – just like back in the dark ages of Harper.
He was his fathers responsibility… one does not take children into war zones… especially terrorists intentions!!!!
I must admit I was surprised and rather pleased about Colby Cosh’s piece, and in the National Post of all places. Ditto, conservative fellow traveler Konrad Yakabuski in the Globe and Mail. Margaret Wente, on the other hand, was totally predictable.
I am curious Expat if former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien hadn’t lobbied Pakistan’s Prime Minister Benazair Bhutto for the release of Omar’s father Ahmed Said Khadr from prison in 1996 would we be where we are today? If he had not been released from prison Omar would never have been trained to be a terrorist.
Don’t know the answer to your question, Farmer, nor do I see how it is directly relevant to the issue at hand.
It is relevant to the extent that Chretien’s lobbying for the release of Omar’s father started the ball rolling. Then it was the same Liberal government that violated his charter rights when they sent CSIS agents down to interrogate him in Guantanamo in I believe 2003. This same Liberal government had the opportunity to lobby for his release before they were voted out of office and replaced by the Conservatives but they did not. I certainly realize that the Harper haters on here would like to blame this whole affair on him but the real blame lies with previous Liberal governments and hence the secretive settlement.
I have a better question Farmer B:
If Harper hadn’t made Khadr his personal whipping boy, and had simply followed the rule of law, would we be where we are today?
Yup. CTF has used non-taxable monies to stealth lobby democratically elected politicians to make decisions that advance big business interests. Such behaviour is helping to undermine our Canadian democracy.
The precedent was set by the Stephen Harper Government.
In 2007 they approved payment of $10 million to Maher Arar.
No doubt many Conservatives, especially Jason Kenney, would like to overlook this. Not to mention the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Completely different situation.
It is an identical situation according to the courts that applied the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Both had their Charter rights violated, and therefore were awarded a settlement.
I wonder what it’s like to feel bitter all the time?
To resent anything that anyone may achieve due to obvious Government malfeasance?
To knowingly realize that a fifteen year old was tortured and abused by Canada and the U.S.?
What is most remarkable is that he seems to have come through all this as a well-adjusted person.
Omar is an inspiration for every Canadian whose rights are being violated. Let’s leave this young man alone so he can get on with his life like the rest of us.
I’m a centrist, leaning left, and I believe this payout is a travesty of justice!
Then, you are not a centris leaning left. You are likely a confused conservative, who cannot find a political home for your twisted ideology.
A true centrist leaning left would understand and accept that the travesty is that this Canadian born citizen had his Charter rights violated by the very government that is supposed to protect us Canadians.
From a centrist left-leaning perspective the payout was not large enough in our view.
Athabascan, your centrist-left outlook as you describe it certainly confirms why I am centrist right. The poor handling of this issue by the federal government started in 1996 with Jean Chrétien securing the release of his father from a Pakistan prison and continues today with the secretive settlement. The only federal liberal, Ralph Goodale, that has been in government since the start of this affair showed his greatest contempt for whoever leaked the details of the agreement. If it was the right thing to do why won’t the government release the details?
Latest Angus Reid poll taken between July 7-10 shows that 71% of Canadians disagree with 10.5 million dollar settlement payed to Omar Khadr. Certainly not surprised.
That poll only proves most Canadians are uninformed and cannot comprehend even the basic aspects of the principles behind the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
A similar poll conducted in the 15th century would show 90% believed the world was flat, and that the sun revolved around the earth. They were all wrong!
Irrelevant results from an irrelevant poll conducted for irrelevant purposes.
Thank goodness the rule of law and the Supreme Court prevail over mob rule.
Athabascan, enjoyed your answer, here is why. If you look further into the poll data, no doubt Conservatives have the highest level of dissatisfaction. But 61% of Canadian’s who voted Liberal and 64% of those who voted NDP disagreed with this settlement. Your elitist toned dismissal of the majority of Canadians may not get you the results you desire lol.
Derek Fildebrandt worked at CTF. That alone tells me the CTF doesn’t deserve my support or respect.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if they are partisan or not ! They stay on issues that the government of the day seems to just blank check as a way of doing there job now that is not the way we do things ever! I am sick of this attitude that here in Canada you have to be lefty to be canadian? This behind the door deal of ten million dollars is a sign that they just don’t care about how they spend our money! Not when the poor can’t afford to even rent a home and our disabled can’t afford medications? Absolutely disgusting?
Lance, what the government did was a prudent use of tax dollars. As many people have noted, five million has already been spent in legal fees that did nothing but strengthen Mr, Khadr’s position. The real blank cheque you should be offended by is the one being advocated for by the CTF and Conservative politicians, who want to spend millions of other people’s money before a court awards an even bigger settlement.
I do not like it.
On the other hand it is a small price to pay to remind our elected Government’s that they their actions are not above the law and that they will be held accountable. This is about successive Canadian Governments doing what they believed was politically expedient even if it meant violating our basic rights as Canadians. It was as odious as Harper’s personal attack on Supreme Court Justive Beverly McLaughlan.
Mr Khadr was a child soldier, forced into battle by an overbearing, oppressive and undoubtedly abusive father, an Islamist fanatic who has since died. He should have been rescued, and offered succour in a health care facility, not tossed into an illegal prison by a reckless superpower. Maybe he threw that grenade… so what? Killing an enemy combatant in time of war is not, per se, a crime under either domestic or international law. If he did throw it, even were he deemed to be an adult, he should have been taken into custody as a PoW, and placed in a secure facility under the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and later freed after the end of hostilities, or released into some form of internment far from the front lines of the conflict. As a PoW, torturing or mistreating him would be an internationally-recognized war crime, and the perpetrators could have been held to account.
In either scenario, his incarceration at Gitmo was illegitimate, and the Government of Canada failed in its duty to provide full consular support to him while he was in US custody. While I’m no lawyer, I’m also not sure the wrongs done to him could be vitiated by the “notwithstanding clause”, which does not apply to the independence of the judiciary and could not, in any case, be applied retroactively.
$10.5 million is a lot of money. But what would the cost have been has the case gone to trial, all in? What costs would have been assessed against the defendants (the Government of Canada, for instance) had there been a judgement in his favour, leaving aside any damages that might have been awarded? A settlement is the only way to cut losses and limit the damage.
That’s an interesting point regarding the application of the Notwithstanding Clause. You may be right, Jerry, although I am not certain. After all, it would require legislation (again violating Mr. Khadr’s rights, or perhaps re-violating them) to be passed by Parliament. I am pretty sure it could be done. Even if it couldn’t be done, it could be argued – at least for a spell. But then, as previously noted many times, I’m no lawyer. I will leave the argument in the text and hopefully some of the constitutional lawyers who are readers of this blog will weigh in. I would be delighted to stand corrected, as that would strengthen my main argument. Part of the partisan purpose of such exercises by groups like the CTF, of course, is to undermine public confidence in the judiciary and the rule of law. Except when their own goose is about to be cooked, of course, their whole thing is about the rule of might. DJC
I’m quite sure the notwithstanding could be used. However, I am equally certain that if it were used solely in this case and directed at Khadr it would be struck down by the SCC, if not the lower courts.
Simply put, the Notwithstanding Clause can’t be used to target one individual. Moreover, the Clause can’t be used to deny a Canadian citizen his/her rights under the Charter.
Maybe it’s a good question, but it’s a moot point, as they say.
Nowhere is it written that the notwithstanding clause can’t be used to target one individual. As for the the idea that it can’t be used to deny a Canadian citizen rights under the charter, that is exactly why the notwithstanding clause is there, to override charter rights. Beyond that, I have no idea if it could have been used in this case.
I didn’t state it couldn’t be used. I made it clear that if it were used it would surely be deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court if it were used in this manner.
Learn to read!
Athabascan: You’re asking too much if you expect all online commenters, especially online commenters of the angry right, to actually read what they’re commenting on. We live in a society that, increasingly, doesn’t do nuance well, or cope well with the complexity of thoughts longer than 140 characters, a format in which it’s easier to say “drop dead” than “I think you’re half right and half wrong.” As for the applicability of the Notwithstanding Clause in this case, I’m not a lawyer, so it’s not clear to me. Mr. Khadr’s rights were violated, so Section 33 could have been used to suspend his rights, if the Chretien, Martin or Harper governments had had the courage to opt out of the Charter in this case. The Trudeau government – obviously and to its credit – is not of a mind to do so, so whether or not they could use the Charter after the fact to suspend his rights is, I guess, moot. As for using Section 33 to interfere with the independence of the judiciary, no, it can’t be used for that. DJC
Perhaps a suggestion would be to read this article carefully, and fully and looking at the photos carefully:
“What if Omar Khadr isn’t guilty?”
Perhaps then, it’s no wonder he received a settlement.
Again, I believe, even more now, that Omar Khadr is alive, is a miracle, and for whatever reason beyond our understanding.
Anyone seeking an objective accounting of Khadr’s ordeal should read Garassino’s article referenced above. He writes from the perspective of a prosecutor seeking justice for both victim and the accused in preparing for trial. Garassino concludes that other than the forced confession, there was no credible evidence against Khadr and he very well could have been innocent.
Should be – She writes.
Albertan, that is a powerful article. Thank you for posting it.
IMHO, the Leader of the Opposition made himself look very foolish in his remarks about this issue yesterday. He was playing to that group of Conservative that he belongs to. Not the silent majority. Lots of columns and articles now appearing in the press about the real reasons for this settlement and the facts behind it.
Almost reminds me of the gay marriage debate, the legal issues, and our Charter of Rights. Many people were made to look very silly by their public comments made without any understanding of the issues. Over a very short time, as the real issues came to the fore, public opinion swayed very much in favour.
I think Omar Khadr should just change his name in order to be left alone and be able to get on with the rest of his life…..
Why change his name?
First, how long do you think it would take for the Neocon haters to find out his new name?
Second, why should he have to change his name? You and I don’t have to do that, so why should he?
I think he should keep his name and flaunt it with pride. In a few years when he is found NOT guilty by a US judge, he can remind all the bigots including the CBC and other MSM how shamefully they covered this story.
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