Khadr deal up­holds our Cana­dian val­ues

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

David De­laney went to a lengthy ef­fort in his opinion piece in the Cape Bre­ton Post (“Khadr Deal Was ‘Obliv­i­ous To Law, Dis­re­spect­ful To Our Val­ues’,” July 25) try­ing to at­tack the Omar Khadr set­tle­ment as be­ing against Cana­dian val­ues and hav­ing no ba­sis in law.

As I un­der­stand it, Canada was suc­cess­fully sued specif­i­cally for not fol­low­ing the val­ues Mr. De­laney at­tributes to Canada.

Ap­par­ently, De­laney missed the point com­pletely that one of Canada’s “val­ues” - I’m as­sum­ing he does sup­port - is to be pre­sumed in­no­cent un­til proven guilty in a fair and quick trial.

How­ever, he sim­ply waived this value in the Khadr sit­u­a­tion and con­cludes he is guilty. He states: “It is said that he who comes seek­ing equitable re­lief must do so with clean hands.”

De­laney ig­nores the fact that both the Cana­dian and U.S. gov­ern­ments pro­fess to hav­ing such hon­ourable val­ues and were not be­ing “obliv­i­ous to the law” when they said Khadr would not be of­fered a trial un­less he took the plea deal in which he ad­mits guilt to all charges and serve a few more years in a Cana­dian pri­son. This is one of our le­gal val­ues?

Some of the fol­low­ing facts on the Khadr sit­u­a­tion that have been re­ported:

•Omar Khadr was a child sol­dier at age 15 who was found in crit­i­cal con­di­tion fol­low­ing a fire­fight.

•The mis­sion de­brief re­port filed by the U.S. troops stated a mid­dle aged man threw a grenade, which killed one U.S. sol­dier.

•The grenadier was shot in the head and killed.

•Khadr was taken to Guan­tanamo Bay pri­son.

•Sev­eral years later charges were laid and he was de­clared an en­emy com­bat­ant dur­ing a time of war, which made his ac­tion le­gal un­der rules of en­gage­ment.

•He was de­nied ac­cess to a lawyer and no trial date was set. He was held in de­ten­tion and tor­tured for nearly 10 years.

•At that time an ad­den­dum to the orig­i­nal mis­sion de­brief was submitted iden­tify Khadr as the one that tossed the grenade. The orig­i­nal re­port was not re­scinded. No one knows who in­tro­duced the new ad­den­dum. A week later Khadr is of­fered a plea deal.

In re­gard to De­laney’s com­ment that “we were, in fact, com­mit­ted to that strug­gle” and “Our na­tional pol­icy sup­ported the ef­fort,” I’m sure the Nazis, too, dur­ing the Sec­ond World War had a sim­i­lar com­mit­ment to their strug­gle.

It must be noted the Trudeau gov­ern­ment did not sim­ply of­fer an apol­ogy and set­tle the Khadr suit for re­port­edly $10.5 mil­lion for no rea­son. The Supreme Court of Canada found in favour of Khadr that his guar­an­teed rights un­der the Char­ter were breached.

And, Thomas Walkom in his July 18 col­umn (“Khadr Deal Rec­og­nizes Ottawa Went Too Far In War On Ter­ror”) in the Post noted Ottawa has made other fi­nan­cial set­tle­ments - some dis­closed, some not dis­closed - to other peo­ple who sued the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment for vi­o­lat­ing their rights.

He was also im­ply­ing there would be even more such set­tle­ments if the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to dis­re­gard its le­gal obli­ga­tion un­der our Con­sti­tu­tional laws and val­ues that are in­tended to pro­tect Cana­di­ans.

At this point, Khadr is not the is­sue. What the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment has done here should be re­garded as a crime against all Cana­di­ans.

Had the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment of­fered Khadr a fair trial at the be­gin­ning and broke no laws against this Cana­dian ci­ti­zen, there would have been no civil suit to pay.

De­laney’s scorn should be di­rected solely at the Cana­dian gov­ern­ments that par­tic­i­pated in this crime against our Cana­dian val­ues and the rule of law. Charles W. Samp­son Sydney Forks

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