07.08.2017 08:59 AM

Poll: what should Omar Khadr get?

This never-ending Khadr saga, I think, is a proxy for Canadians’ views on many other things – and it has divided us, dramatically. In our house, just for example, Lisa supports the payment and the apology. I, meanwhile, think it is appalling to provide either a payment or an apology to someone who killed a medic – one who, you know, actually saved the lives of people just like Omar Khadr.

Conservatives are apoplectic because many of them resent dusky-skinned Muslims.  Progressives support it because many of them hear “Charter rights” and “child soldier” and they suspend their critical faculties, and forget that the constitutional rights of a medical practitioner were violated in the worst way imaginable

So what do you think? I’ve tried to put together the myriad possible outcomes.  Vote, if you want.  Comment too.

60 Comments

  1. Joe H says:

    While I am certainly disgusted with the treatment that a Canadian citizen received by both US and Canadian governments, and I do believe that there were charter rights violated, I do not think that Khadr should have received that large amount. That is more than making one whole and is merely a windfall. The fact that he is dusky-skinned makes no difference to me, I would feel the same way if this was a white-skinned, “all Canadian” looking person (whatever that is).

    I will admit, I do not know the entire story, and I wonder if anyone actually knows what the story is except Khadr and the deceased Sgt. Spear. I gather there is doubt as to whether he actually threw the grenade that took the life of Sgt. Spear, a hero and warrior.

    I guess I am conflicted, just as many are but this does not sit right with me.

  2. Brian says:

    Mr. Speers was a Marine who had first aid training. He was a soldier in a combat situation. As such, the “medic” argument is spurious. This is completely aside from the only evidence that Mr. Khadr was responsible for Mr. spears death was a confession obtained after torture and illegal confinement.

    Canada and the US should be ashamed.

    • Eastern Rebellion says:

      Dear Brian, you don’t know what you are talking about. According to Article 2 of the Geneva Convention, medical personnel, whether on the field of battle or not, are to be considered neutral. Look it up.

    • Ray says:

      SFC Speer was US Army Special Forces, not USMC.

      Ashamed of what? Arresting and detaining a non-uniformed, non-Afghani combatant who killed a medic with a grenade?

      • Eastern Rebellion says:

        Hi Ray. Good points. While I am certainly not an expert on international law, according to the information I am aware of, if a member of any type of regular armed force (i.e. uniformed military personnel) is acting as a medic on the field of battle, they are entitled to the protection accorded under the Geneva Convention to medical personnel, whether or not they are a full time medic. Furthermore, Layne Morris was interviewed on the radio today and he stated unequivocally that Khadr was shot after he threw a grenade, and that if a second medic had not been with the unit, he would have “bled out”.

      • doconnor says:

        The is a difference between detaining someone and torturing him and holding him without trail for more then 10 years.

    • Vancouverois says:

      Khadr admits freely to having thrown a grenade; the only question (if there is one) is whether it was the specific one that killed Speers.

      Khadr was present on the battlefield, fighting on the side of Canada’s enemies against one of our allies. There is video of him constructing explosive devices intended to kill allied soldiers. He was a traitor to our country, period. Is his age at the time a mitigating factor? Perhaps. Perhaps that, and the fact that he can’t help having been born into a family of malevolent terrorist supporters, should be considered when deciding whether he was fully responsible for his crimes. That doesn’t change the fact that he committed crimes.

      It’s the useful idiots who try to portray Khadr as an innocent victim who should be ashamed.

      • cynical says:

        “freely” . Right

      • Jim says:

        “admits freely”

        Lol. There was nothing remotely free about his confession. This may be the silliest thing I’ve read all day from people on either side of the subject.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Vancouverois,

        No he isn’t an innocent victim. But Canada chose to cut her potential losses at trial. I could be wrong but am one of those who fervently believes that he would have won a 20 million dollar settlement, without this so-called confidential agreement.

        We live in a very messy world and I am prepared to swallow the necessary castor oil. But I will concede that but for Canadian and American intelligence conduct, there is no way on earth that he could have negotiated such a settlement.

      • Terence Quinn says:

        He is not an innocent victim and nor is he a criminal as portrayed by the US military after torture methods used to get a 16 year old to confess w/o any legal counsel to advise him of his rights, etc. .

  3. Michael Bluth says:

    dusky-skinned?

    Eventually the never ending cries of racism from progressives wear thin. Hammering that drum repeatedly was counter to Hillary’s best interests in November.

    Seems like the majority replying to this poll are opposed to the payout. Are they all racists?

    • cynical says:

      Calling it politically unproductive does not make it right.

    • Charlie says:

      Read the sentence again; maybe sound out the words this time.

      Warren said *many*, not *all*.

      Just like *many* Trump supporters are ill-informed; definitely not all.

      The fact that you can’t recognize nuance makes me question how you even watched the show from which your moniker is borrowed.

      • Michael Bluth says:

        Charlie, I commend you on an excellent job channeling the coastal elite arrogance that was so prevalent in the Democrats blindness to the concerns of flyover America in the presidential election.

        If the knee jerk reaction is to attack ‘many’ of the people who are opposed to this payout progressives will miss what a serious challenge this is to Trudeau’s chance of winning re-election.

        The only question now is if the Liberals lose power altogether in 2019 or are just reduced to a minority government.

        • Charlie says:

          What in god’s name are you talking about?

          Your original comment misconstrued Warren’s remark about the existence of subliminal racism towards Khadr by some individuals as being a blanket generalization.

          If my response to you was a knee jerk, your’s is a full-out epileptic seizure.

          I don’t know if its my coastal elitism acting up, but something tells me the Trudeau government isn’t going to be toppled in 2019 because you had a hissy fit on an online blog.

    • Uvam Acerbam says:

      This poll was skewed. One option was pro solution and 5 were against. It should have either been yes or no. Very shabby Mr. Kinsella.

  4. Luke says:

    I remain unconvinced that he even did the deed. The confession is meaningless, and an addendum to the report years later naming him instead of a nondescript, possibly middle aged assailant hardly gives me any confidence in the authorities on this matter. Maybe he did it. I have no idea.

  5. cynical says:

    Not ready to vote. I don’t know enough, and don’t know that I care to.
    The more I read, however, the less sure I am that his US trial and imprisonment were just.

  6. Mark Grenon says:

    You make a good point that the medic’s rights were violated. This makes for a difficult quandary; how can one person’s rights be considered more sacred than another’s, particularly in the case of somebody who acted against the expectations of his citizenship? The issues of borders, age, citizenship, and grey areas of the law make this all so impossible to clearly delineate. Personally, I think torture and Guantanomo are aberrations. That the Americans thought Khadr was a treasure trove for intel and that Canadians played along is an aberration. Of course, it was a time of war. That war, however, is over. Where are we now, at this moment in history? The facts appear to be that Khadr was endlessly tortured and was not given due process. When states operate outside the law, it becomes such a convoluted process to clean up the mess. It may be counter-intuitive, and it may offend our sense of what is just, but Khadr was swallowed up in a quasi-legal machine of violence, paranoia, and propaganda, and never sentenced according to our laws as I understand them. The trauma of war is experienced by all who are involved, and the claims of Spear’s wife and veterans that Khadr should be held accountable are irrefutable. But how? And for how long? The sentencing must be clearly based on legal precedent, or countries are just making stuff up as they go along; while this is likely to happen in times of war, as we move back into times of peace, reconciliation is a lofty goal. Khadr seems willing to forgive those who tortured him endlessly. I don’t know if Canadian veterans can find it in them to do so; however, if they can’t, the rift this will leave in the Canadian collective conscience will lead to a dark place in my view, namely, a continuation of the psychological space of war. If we think of the settlement and the apology as our elected representatives choosing to side historically with the rule of law, in an act of collective reconciliation, I think that’s a courageous and healthy thing to do. This is easier for me to say, as I in no way experienced trauma from the war in Afghanistan, other than the second-hand trauma of seeing everybody suffering, regardless of where they come from. In the end, though I’m no lawyer, I think the law must apply equally to all citizens. Whether citizenship can be revoked was obviously a measure Stephen Harper’s government decided upon in the positive. The Liberals are taking a different approach, and I don’t know where it will lead. I strongly sense that when states meet inhumanity with inhumanity, we all suffer. To treat someone humanely who acted as an enemy goes against many Canadians’ sense of justice. I can’t think of a more viable outcome, though, in the long term.

    • JH says:

      Where did you find the ‘endlessly tortured’ part? I’d like to read that. Lots of opinions on here, being passed off as facts, to some references would be helpful.
      Tks.

      • Terence Quinn says:

        The guy who was in charge of his torture was convicted of that and actually a murder as well. Look it up

        • JH says:

          Doesnt say endlessly tortured anywhere. Look it up!
          BTW for the folks doing the lying about this:
          Violations happened in 2002/2003 Libs were in power. And the Supreme Court said nothing about compensation. Look that up!

  7. Bob Hall says:

    People can whine all they want. The right thing has been done for our Canadian Citizen and that should be the end of it! Any foreigners who think they should receive compensation should seek it from their Country’s military.

    • Ray says:

      Disagree.
      Mr. Khadr took up arms against his own countrymen & their allies in a foreign land. If he deserves anything, it should be a charge of treason.

  8. jj gibbons says:

    Speers was not a medic. He died (unfortunately) in a war zone wearing a disguise. (I wonder if he ever killed anyone as a special forces soldier?)

    The amount given to Khadr was no doubt set by the precedent established by the Maher Arar case – violation of a Canadian citizens rights, et. al.

    • Eastern Rebellion says:

      Dear JJ….Sergeant First Class Speer was in fact a medic. This is an incontrovertible fact (not fake news).

      • jj gibbons says:

        Actually, it is “an incontrovertible fact” that Sgt. Speers was a Special Forces soldier with medical training (they all have) and was wearing a disguise (not uniformed as a medic) in a battlezone when he was mortally wounded.

  9. Charlie says:

    This whole discussion of handing the money over to the widow is utterly ludicrous. She should never have won that case.

    This isn’t a civil case where two neighbours are fighting over damage to a fence: its about an army medic losing his life in a war zone due to a child soldier (allegedly) tossing a grenade at his perceived combatant.

    It sucks for the Speer family, but they’re road ended when the US army chose to send their husband into a dangerous place where his life would likely be under threat.

    The money that Khadr received is for the subsequent mistreatment he faced at the hands of the Canadian government.

    Had Khadr been left to die in Afghanistan and not dragged away by the armed forces, none of this would be an issue and the Speer family would have dealt with their sorrow the way countless other military families do. Instead, we find ourselves in a situation where Khadr has become a lightening rod for a myriad of misplaced frustrations and people Andrew Scheer making asinine connections between unrelated issues.

    By the way, its blatantly obvious that some would be happy to fight Khadr in court for the next 20 years at astronomical costs just to prevent him from receiving anything compensation. We’re not having a practical debate anymore, we’re talking about what makes us feel good.

    Whether Khadr is the boogey man or a poor kind soul; it doesn’t matter anymore because the sequence of events that have transpired since the incident have led us to the conclusion we’re at to day.

    Time to learn and move on.

    • Vancouverois says:

      Your charge of “mistreatment at the hands of the Canadian government” is highly misleading at best. The Canadian government didn’t mistreat him; the Americans at Guantanamo did (allegedly).

      • Charlie says:

        After they ceded any regard or responsibility of him to American custody, being fully aware of the conditions that were being be visited upon him, thereby putting a Canadian directly in a situation where he faced mistreatment for a crime he (allegedly) committed and (allegedly) confessed to while under duress that would otherwise be considered as torture, all while being underaged.

        Deliberate negligence, for all intents and purposes, is mistreatment in this case. Which is something the Supreme Court of Canada concurs with.

  10. Mark Francis says:

    The Hitler Youth were heavily indoctrinated Nazis and very much used and killed in the thousands in the dying days of WWII.

    How many killed our soldiers and were tortured and tried and sued for it?

    • scottd says:

      None of them would have been Canadian citizens so your analogy doesnt work. Interesting that you seem unaware of a key aspect of this case.

  11. Eastern Rebellion says:

    The current government in Ottawa was between a rock and a hard place. Once the Supreme Court held that Mr. Khadr’s Charter Rights were violated, the writing was on the wall. There was going to be a lawsuit, the only question was how much was he going to get. Whether his victims deserve some of the settlement is a legal matter, and should be arbitrated in court.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Eastern,

      I don’t practice in constitutional law but my sense of it is that successive Court judgments preclude Canadian enforcement of an American judgment at trial.

      That’s why I favour voluntary payments by the Canadian government to the two American litigants. They also deserve some form of justice.

  12. Kelly says:

    You’re right this fight is a proxy for other issues — mostly about control of the decision making levers and who’s values will prevail. With the settlement, the rule of law has prevailed. A Canadian citizen’s fundamental rights were violated as a result of the actions of his government. Period. That is the only relevant issue in law. All the rest is opinion and useful only for signalling one’s views about the workings of Canada’s supreme Court versus an American military kangaroo court dealing with a case of illegal imprisonment and torture and making a judgement on a “confession” obtained under duress for a made up crime of killing a delta forces combative with medical training who people for some reason want to call a medic.

    Khadr would have won $20 million plus costs had this gone to the Supreme Court. Everyone knows it. The Conservatives are disgustingly playing this for political and fundraising purposes. The official opposition is naming and targeting an individual citizen for their own gain. Think about the implications of that. It is right out of Pinochet’s Playbook. Nobody should fall for it.

  13. Deb Lindenas says:

    There are parts of this story that will never be known to the general public. About who Khadr was at 15, about his family, and particularly his father. Things that are highly classified. That said, there is no doubt his rights were violated in some of the worst ways possible. I support the apology & the payment, however could this whole thing have been rolled out publicly any worse? Who screwed up on that one? I would suggest to anyone who wants to know more to read, “Guantanamo’s Child” by Michelle Shephard.

  14. Jean says:

    There is still some missing information in this debate. Why did it take seven years after the Supreme Court decision to reach a settlement with Omar Kadr’s lawyer? Did Harper delay the inevitable just so that it could be done in secret? What percentage of this settlement has to go to the legal fees and expenses charged by Kadr’s lawyer, who has waited years for repayment?

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Jean,

      Legitimate questions but the third is probably subject to the confidentiality agreement.

      Also interesting, ask yourself who leaked the agreement and whose vital interests were served by doing so…

  15. SM says:

    A child soldier, Canadian, has his rights ignored by Stephen Harper. Harper knew this settlement would come, but it was worth more to him to tear up the Charter of Rights on the world stage and stand beside George Bush. Damn right there should be an apology.

    • Matt says:

      Holy Christ. One more time for the people claiming this is Harper’s fault:

      ALL of the incidents that were ruled to be violations of Khadr’s rights happened in 2002/2003. WHEN THE LIBERALS WERE IN POWER.

      Harper did nothing to violate Khadr’s rights.

      He refused to repatriate even after two lower court rulings said he had to, and they went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court RULED IN THE HARPER GOVERNMENT’S FAVOUR, saying it was a matter of foreign relations/foreign policy and the Harper government was well within their rights to set said policy.

      Second, the SCC ruling made no mention of compensation.

      • scottd says:

        Incorrect. He was in prison for 10 years. And after he got out his rights were still contravened. Try harder.

        • NT says:

          Wow Matt, I’ve spent many hours investigating truths around this issue, including reading the scc judgement (I think) you reference. You’re the first person I’ve read to claim it as a Harper victory. I actually laughed out loud!

  16. Sean Cummngs says:

    I do believe this decision to apologize and pay Khadr the 649 jackpot is the first really significant and damaging political blunder Justin Trudeau has made. I think this is going to cost him dearly because this is going to stick to him like the National Energy Program stuck to is father. This is water cooler talk. People are talking about this one thing right now. I heard people this morning at a Timmies in Saskatoon talking about it. None of them were smiling.

    • BethAdams says:

      It seems a huge blunder to me too, but Justin is a consummate politician. He has calculated that this is a good move for in the eyes of his support base. He doesn’t care what other Canadians think. Many of his supporters approve. Concerning his other supporters, better to get any deal now, years before the next election, than a more fair solution, that will still disgust many, close to the election. Timing is the key. He has certainly done all he can to blame Harper, even though Khadr’s captivity started with Chretien. He also rationalizes that the deal was forced by the law, when the outcome of the suit is totally uncertain. It certainly sets a tone to his leadership. To some ‘progressive’, generous to minorities, reaffirming of the Charter, and, if they are honest, anti-American. To others wasteful, disrespectful to victims and soldiers, ‘political correctness’ gone mad, and grossly unfair.

  17. Fraternite says:

    I’m hoping Omar is big enough to give the money away; he says all he wants is anonymity and a normal life, and he doesn’t need $10M for that. But more broadly, Canada needs to say sorry, and Omar needs to say sorry. In short, this situation was a shitshow all around and nobody did anything good.

  18. Mike Adamson says:

    We can quibble with the amount but the government needs to look out for its citizens, particularly when they’re minors. That’s pretty basic IMO.

  19. Montréalaise says:

    Does the timing of this strike anyone else as cynical in the extreme? The news of the settlement came out as a) Parliament had just begun its long summer recess, b) the PM was out of the country, attending the G20 summit which has dominated the news and c) it’s summer, the time of year when most people focus on vacations, backyard barbecues and weekends at the cottage. My take is the Liberals knew that Canadians would be upset but figured they will have forgotten all about it once Labour Day comes around.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Montréalaise,

      Standard government operating procedure regardless of government stripe, as any member of the PPG can attest to, on a Friday!

      In this instance, they are saving the taxpayer money – – which they will promptly undue with the inevitable F-35 purchase. That will be the ultimate in a fiscal obscenity. That boondoggle, will hurt them so much more than Khadr.

      • Vancouverois says:

        The Liberals CLAIM to be saving taxpayer money – what else can they say? However, that’s speculation at best.

        And I’m pretty sure that this will hurt them significantly.

  20. Gene says:

    It will be difficult from here on out to reconcile handing over 10.5 million and the manner it which it was done (which was less than above board and transparent).

    Every time some long standing issue has not been properly addressed this event will pointed out.

    A majority of Canadians will never see 10.5 million, much less it coming from the Government.

    Normal Canadians feel cheated by this settlement and as much as the Government tried to have the issue quietly disappear, it won’t go away.

    This is the Prime Minister’s Charlie Brown moment:

    In 1985, Solange Denis (b. 1922), a 63-year-old Ottawa woman, made national media headlines during a protest by seniors of the Conservative government’s plan to limit the inflation protection on Old Age Security pensions. Denis strongly attacked Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, contending that “You made promises that you wouldn’t touch anything…you lied to us. I was made to vote for you and then it’s Goodbye Charlie Brown,” (“You ‘lied’ on pensions, Mulroney told”, Toronto Star (June 20, 1985).) said Denis. The government later backed down on the proposal.

  21. Matt says:

    Well, he’s already lost his lawyer.

    Dennis Edney is no longer representing Khadr. He has taken his money, thought to be 45% of the settlement and ran even thought Khadr still has an appeal of his conviction before the courts.

    I suspect the US might be pissed off enough about this to finally hear his appeal, uphold the conviction and then it’s back to jail for two years for Kadhr. Remember, he’s out on bail now pending his appeal.

  22. DJ says:

    Since the money has been paid, it is time to give it over to the widow. I voted for not giving money but that is no longer an option.

  23. Dunk says:

    Whether he killed cpl Speer or not is irrelevant relative to Khadr’s deserving a reward or not. He was a Canadian citizen building bombs for a terrorist entity that was at war with Canada. The only thing the true north strong and free owe him is a trial for treason and a jail cell adjacent to Paul Bernardo for the rest of his traitorous life.

    Shame on all his supporters.

  24. Bill Templeman says:

    Analogies are for fools, but that hasn’t held me back before, so why stop now? As a student, I worked one summer for a hotel in the Rockies as a busboy & waiter. Almost all of the front-of-house staff were Canadian university students. A motley crew in Banff for a damn good time. We didn’t know what we didn’t know about formal dining room service. The man who trained us, our Maitre’ d, was a steely-eyed German in his 40’s who ruled the dining room with an iron fist. A spit & polish man, broad shoulders, very fit, always in an immaculate tux. Fear, intimidation and innuendo were his weapons. Very effective. He rarely spoke to us individually. He let his underlings do all the disciplining. To make a long story longer, most of the professional dining room staff, the head waiters, wine stewards, etc., were Swiss, Austrian or German. One of the younger Swiss head waiters befriended several of us and shared a bit of our Maitre’ d’s background. Ex-German army, tank corps, captured in Normandy by Canadians, and apparently, ex-Hitler Youth. My point re Khadr: Bad stuff happens during wars. Really bad stuff that most of us will never experience. Did our Maitre’ d kill Canadians? Allies of Canada? Who knows? According to the story, my Maitre’s was captured as part of a tank crew. When he was captured he was still in his teens. He could be dead by now, but there still must be thousands of old Germans, Italians, Japanese and younger Afghanis alive who killed Canadians troops. Certainly there are still thousands of elderly Vietnamese alive who killed American troops. Should we go after all of them in courts of law around the world? Or should we turn the page? Khadr’s confession of throwing a grenade was extracted under pressure, to put it discretely. And he was participating in what we would define as a war. As above, really bad stuff happens during wars. Impossible to judge.

  25. John Tuarze says:

    Canadian men should be ashamed given the lack of balls our leader has demonstrated here. OMG what a joke we all look like now. To kill an American/brother get caught then beg to be released back to Canada where we pay him millions so he can turn around and pay to get the rest of these murderers in this family ( his sister ) out of jail. Lets all send ISIS money , same thing. Why dont we just send him back to where ever this family came from and take away his citizenship. Omar may Allah take your family straight to hell. I voted lib never again, I met the original Trudeau a couple of times being from Ottawa we crossed paths at a beer tent or two. Let me say treason has been a topic I wont support because your father was a great man, I hoped his son would turn into less of a feminist when he came to power. This action has sealed his fate. You really fucked up boy. Giving Omar this reward was out of line with our morals. The court in this country has to take the blame also and for that reason I think being a Canadian is now not something I am proud of. You did the right thing true but in my eyes wow you have taken away every single good thing I ever said about your father over the years. Smile joke about how could anyone know how wrong this is and still support it. Grow some balls stand up and do what a smart politician should do and before its too late pull a 180 , admit you fucked up. Every lawyer is a liar, you made the point clearly law first. Common sense wait the trap you have just tripped will end your job, so your backup play Gold Corp??

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