The Shady Business of Paying Omar Khadr

The Shady Business of Paying Omar Khadr

Khadr deserves to get on with his life, but Ottawa did everything wrong with his $10.5 million payout. This is going to leave a mark.

Well. That was quick.

Only five days into a national bedlam of opprobrium and sanctimony that began with rumours that Ottawa intended to say sorry and shell out $10.5 million to make amends for ignoring the constitutional rights of the famous Gitmo boy-terrorist Omar Khadr, and all of a sudden, the deal is already done, the cheque’s already been cut, and Khadr’s already cashed it.

Public Safety Minister Minister Ralph Goodale expended a great deal of effort on Friday to the purpose of appearing righteous and proper, and went so far as to lay blame on the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper: “The Harper government could have repatriated Mr. Khadr or otherwise resolved the matter,” Goodale said. “They didn’t.”

That is going to leave a mark. But not on the Conservatives.

The misdeeds Goodale was insisting we should all atone for—the specific trespasses upon Khadr’s constitutional rights that Goodale cited to justify the government’s sudden sorry-saying and cash payout—were committed in 2002 and 2003, before Harper’s government was in power. At the time, Goodale himself was a member of Paul Martin’s Liberal cabinet.

If the intention of the deal was as Goodale said—to cut Canada’s losses in the $20 million civil litigation Khadr’s lawyers initiated in 2004, and help Khadr escape his notoriety and get on with his life at last, which he does deserve—this is not how it’s done.

 

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