Dear Canadians: Don’t sit on your brains; it’s not becoming.
Here we go again. It seems a lot of Canadians don’t like the settlement Omar Khadr received.
Let’s keep this simple.
First, this can’t be dumped on Justin Trudeau, or the government he leads, or Stephen Harper and his team. Okay, Trudeau’s taking some heat ‘cause he’s the point person now, but the responsibility lies with government bureaucrats and agencies like our CSIS.
The bottom line is that the government could settle with Khadr for the 10.5 million it did hand over, or it could have stalled like the Harper people tried to do. It could have let the process play out, and then cough up 20, 30, or even 40 million, once costs came into play.
Why? There isn’t a court in Canada that would not have sided with Omar Khadr.
Why? We did him wrong! And, we did him wrong in a big way! Period!
We should be thanking the prime minister for saving taxpayer dollars.
Second, Guantanamo exists solely to allow the United States not to follow any of the principles defined in its Constitution or Bill of Rights.
All men held in the facility are abused and tortured by American military personnel.
Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to a crime for which there is no conclusive proof of guilt in exchange for an opportunity to leave Guantanamo behind. No American or Canadian court would have convicted him of killing an American medic in Afghanistan.
His appeal of that conviction in the United States could drag on for years, and might easily fail. The United States can’t allow one of its courts to find the country culpable for the heinous acts it permitted and still condones, and the kangaroo courts it supported. “Coming clean” would open a pathway for Khadr and dozens of other men to severely tax the U.S. Treasury.
Lastly, let’s briefly review a few of the other settlements Canada has reached with victims of the questionable behaviour in which some of our public servants engaged:-
Stephen Harper apologized to Maher Arar on January 26 in 2007 and awarded him 10.5 million for his 2002 detention in Syria.
Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin, and Abdullah Amalki were held in Syria….and Egypt as well in the case of El Maati….for periods during 2001/2002/2003. They sued Canada for 100 million. In March of 2017, public safety and correctional services minister Ralph Goodale apologized, and gave them a total of 31.25 million.
Benamar Benatta crossed the border into the States in September of 2001, and then spent 5 years in a federal prison in Brooklyn. On December 7 in 2015, it was quietly disclosed in the annual Public Accounts that Canada has paid him 1.7 million.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Sudanese-born Canadian, went home for a family visit in 2003, was imprisoned there for a year, and then spent six more years waiting for Canada to allow him to return home to Montreal. As of 2015, he was suing the government but we have no information of a resolution.
Djamel Ameziane left Canada 15 years ago to visit family in Algeria, was detained by American security forces, and spent 11 years in Guantanamo until his release in December of 2013 when he was returned to Algeria. He was never charged or prosecuted, and is suing Canada for 50 million.
There may be others.
In all cases, these men were abused and tortured by their keepers. Where money has been awarded, courts and investigations in this country have found Canada complicit in their mistreatment, and deserving of compensation.
Now, can we move on?