The Liberal government’s decision to offer Omar Khadr $10.5-million and an apology is a political albatross that Andrew Scheer will hang around Justin Trudeau’s neck all the way to the next election.
The new Conservative leader will make sure that the Prime Minister pays the highest possible price for kowtowing to a young man many Canadians consider a cold-blooded terrorist.
Yes, the Liberals had little choice. Mr. Khadr’s lawyers have the government dead to rights in their lawsuit alleging Canadian complicity in his imprisonment and mistreatment by the United States government.
Three separate Canadian administrations – led by Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper – failed to protect and defend a Canadian citizen who was badly abused by American authorities.
Instead, Canadian security officials profited from that abuse during their own interrogations, even as Canadian courts repeatedly warned that the federal government was violating Mr. Khadr’s rights under the Constitution and international law.
Compounding that complicity, Ottawa accepted Mr. Khadr’s guilty plea – in which he admitted to throwing a grenade that killed one American and injured another during a firefight in Afghanistan – as uncoerced, when it was more likely a desperate effort to trade the hell of a Guantanamo cell for the relative safety of a Canadian prison. The settlement and apology flow from a travesty of justice, and were practically inevitable.
And none of that matters in the least.
Millions of Canadians believe that Mr. Khadr was the poisonous fruit of a family tree of terrorists. The fact that he was 15 during the firefight that killed U.S. Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer and partially blinded Sgt. Layne Morris matters not a jot, the likelihood that Canadian courts would sustain his lawsuit not a tittle.
The Liberals caved to the legal blackmail of a terrorist and confessed murderer, many Canadians will conclude, and they will demand vengeance. The Conservatives will ride that anger.
This article continues at [Globe and Mail] The Omar Khadr settlement will be a political albatross for Trudeau