Opinion Column

View from Parliament Hill – Omar Khadr

 View from Parliament Hill – Omar Khadr

View from Parliament Hill – Omar Khadr

 View from Parliament Hill – Omar Khadr
Recently, the Liberal government decided to apologize and compensate Omar Khadr to the tune of $10.5 million. Many constituents have called and emailed my office in the last couple weeks to let me know of their shock and disgust of this decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. My Manitoba colleague James Bezan, Conservative Critic for National Defence, summed up the situation perfectly in the following editorial:
Canadians are rightfully outraged by the secret settlement orchestrated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pay convicted terrorist Omar Khadr a reported $10.5 million and to apologize to him on behalf of Canadians.  This asinine and egregious decision by the Liberals is an insult to taxpayers, our military, our veterans, and our allies.
Trudeau decided to quietly pay-off Khadr after Parliament broke for summer recess so he didn’t have to face tough questions from the opposition.  The Prime Minister secretly rewarded this convicted murderer while he was out of the country so he wouldn’t have to face Canadians at home. And the Liberals negotiated all of this behind closed doors so they could avoid any accountability and judicial oversight in the courts.
Sadly, the widow of the US soldier Khadr killed and the other soldier he permanently wounded, are being denied justice due to the secretive actions of the Trudeau government.  Conservatives believe any settlement with Khadr should be paid to Mrs. Speer and Mr. Morris rather than to a terrorist.
The Liberals are trying to spin this payoff as being something that was directed by the Supreme Court of Canada. That just isn’t true.  
In 2010, the Supreme Court only found three isolated incidents where Khadr’s Charter Rights were violated when Canadian officials visited him when he was held by the US in Guantanamo Bay.  All three violations occurred under previous Liberal governments; twice in 2003 under Jean Chrétien and once in 2004 under Paul Martin. The remedy by the court was to repatriate Omar Khadr, which the Conservative government did. The court never suggested a settlement.
Some sympathizers are saying that Khadr was a “child soldier” and is entitled to this payment.  But that isn’t factual.  Under the UN’s own definition when Khadr was captured, a child soldier has to be under the age of 15.  Khadr was 15 years old. His actions were premeditated and if he had carried out his terrorist act in Canada, he would have been tried as an adult.  
Khadr was a willful member of the jihadist group Al Qaeda and supported the Taliban, both who were fighting against Canada and our allies in Afghanistan.  Section 46(1)(c) of Canada’s Criminal Code states, that anyone who “assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are”, is guilty of high treason. The penalty for treason is life imprisonment, not a $10.5 million cash settlement. This Liberal decision sets a precedence and sends the wrong message to anyone in Canada who has been radicalized to be a jihadist.
Finally, there is no link between the settlement with Maher Arar and Khadr.  Khadr is a convicted terrorist and was captured on the battle field.  Mr. Arar was never a terrorist and the Supreme Court of Canada found that the Liberal government of the day was complicit in having him deported from the United States to Syria where he was tortured.
Justin Trudeau decided to quietly pay off Omar Khadr rather than fight this in the court of law and must be held to account. Our new Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is committed to debating this terrible Liberal decision as soon as Parliament resumes.

James Bezan, MP
Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman
Conservative Defence Critic



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