Since the news broke of the Trudeau government’s settlement with Omar Khadr I’ve received a steady stream of calls and emails from local residents expressing their opposition to the deal.
I want to be clear that I do not support the out-of-court settlement, which stems from a claim against the Canadian government by Khadr. The claim is based on the fact Canadian officials interrogated him in 2003 and 2004, and passed information from that interrogation along to US officials.
The Supreme Court of Canada concluded in a January 29, 2010 judgment that Khadr’s Charter Rights (Section 7.0 – right to life, liberty and security of person) were contravened by actions of those Canadian officials. That decision did not compel a financial reward; only that Khadr deserved to be repatriated to Canada to serve the rest of his sentence.
After he was repatriated in September 2012, his legal team launched a civil action for $20 million against the federal government (in December 2013) for having contravened his Charter rights, and prolonging his detention in Guantanamo Bay. It is the settlement of this claim that is the subject of this $10.5 million award, and apology.
I disagree with the settlement, and feel any compensation should have been given to the victims of Khadr’s actions in Afghanistan, U.S. medic Sergeant Christopher Speer, who was killed, and Sergeant Layne Morris, who lost an eye in the attack. I understand from media reports that Speer’s widow, Tabitha, and Sergeant Morris will pursue just such a claim in Canada, as they did successfully in the U.S.
This settlement is compensating a man who participated in an insurgency against Canada and its allies, in a war zone. The consequences of his actions landed him in the US justice system as an enemy combatant where his treatment and interrogation have been turned into an “abuse” of his Canadian rights – all of which seems to have set up this financial payout. This settlement may satisfy any legal analysis as “sound”, but it offends my sense of what is right and just.
It is up to the government to explain why they opted for a negotiated settlement, instead of defending against this claim to its ultimate conclusion.
As you may know, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has setup a petition on the settlement that you may want to add your support to – https://www.taxpayer.com/resource-centre/petitions/petition?tpContentId=162
I hope you find my views of this helpful.