Li­brary re­view­ing poli­cies af­ter con­tro­ver­sial event sparks out­rage

The Barrie Examiner - - NATIONAL NEWS - MIKE BLANCH­FIELD AND LEE BERTHI­AUME THE CANA­DIAN PRESS COLIN PERKEL THE CANA­DIAN PRESS The Cana­dian Tax­pay­ers Fed­er­a­tion’s Fed­eral Direc­tor Aaron Wu­drick de­liv­ers a pe­ti­tion to the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, signed by more than 133,000 Cana­di­ans op­pos­ing th

OT­TAWA — Justin Trudeau says he shares the con­cerns of Cana­di­ans who ob­ject to re­ports of the gov­ern­ment’s multi-mil­lion dol­lar set­tle­ment with Omar Khadr.

But the prime min­is­ter says if the gov­ern­ment hadn’t set­tled with the for­mer Guan­tanamo Bay in­mate, it would have cost as much as $40 mil­lion to put an end to the case.

“I can un­der­stand Cana­di­ans’ con­cerns about the set­tle­ment. In fact, I share those con­cerns about the money. That’s why we set­tled,” Trudeau said Thurs­day.

Khadr had filed a $20-mil­lion law­suit against the gov­ern­ment for vi­o­lat­ing his Char­ter rights, and has re­ceived an out-of-court set­tle­ment re­port­edly worth $10.5 mil­lion.

“If we had con­tin­ued to fight this, not only would we have in­evitably lost, but es­ti­mates range from $30 to $40 mil­lion that it would have ended up cost­ing the gov­ern­ment,”

TORONTO — A Cana­dian judge wasted pre­cious few min­utes on Thurs­day in re­fus­ing to freeze a re­ported $10.5-mil­lion pay­out to Omar Khadr so the widow of a slain Amer­i­can soldier he was ac­cused of killing in Afghanistan can have more time to go af­ter the money.

In his rul­ing, On­tario Su­pe­rior Court Justice Ed­ward Belob­aba Trudeau said.

“This was the re­spon­si­ble path to take.”

Khadr was sent to the no­to­ri­ous U.S. prison af­ter be­ing cap­tured dur­ing a fire­fight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15 years old when he was wounded in a bat­tle in which U.S. Sgt. Chris Speer was killed and fel­low Delta Force said he had heard noth­ing to show Khadr planned to hide as­sets to thwart pos­si­ble en­force­ment of a mas­sive Amer­i­can court award against him.

“Peo­ple might have a lot of opin­ions. But this is not a cof­fee shop. This is a court of law,” Belob­aba said dur­ing the hear­ing. “We don’t, thank good­ness, in Canada have one law for Omar Khadr and one law for all other Cana­di­ans.”

Tabitha Speer, widow of U.S. spe­cial forces soldier Sgt. Chris soldier Layne Mor­ris was blinded in one eye.

Khadr was in­ter­ro­gated in 2003 and 2004 by Cana­dian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials. Khadr says his jail­ers threat­ened him with rape and kept him in iso­la­tion, and once used him as a hu­man mop to wipe up urine.

Khadr, now 30, pleaded guilty to five war crimes be­fore a widely Speer, and a for­mer Amer­i­can soldier Layne Mor­ris blinded in one eye, wanted an in­junc­tion freez­ing Khadr’s as­sets pend­ing their bat­tle to have a Cana­dian court force him to pay the US$134.1-mil­lion judg­ment from Utah.

Their Toronto-based lawyer David Winer found him­self strug­gling to per­suade Belob­aba to hand down what the judge called an “ex­tra­or­di­nary and very dras­tic rem­edy” and a “nu­clear weapon.”

Grab­bing some­one’s prop­erty, con­demned mil­i­tary com­mis­sion at Guan­tanamo Bay in 2010. He said he agreed to the plea so he could get out of the Amer­i­can prison and re­turn to Canada. He was re­leased on bail in 2015 pend­ing his ap­peal of the war crimes con­vic­tion.

In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Cana­dian of­fi­cials vi­o­lated Khadr’s rights un­der the Char­ter of Rights and Free­doms dur­ing their in­ter­ro­ga­tions. It found they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in the “then-il­le­gal mil­i­tary regime” at Guan­tanamo.

The gov­ern­ment pay­out has an­gered rank-and-file Cana­di­ans, as well as vet­er­ans groups, and has ex­posed the Lib­er­als to scathing po­lit­i­cal at­tacks from the op­po­si­tion Con­ser­va­tives.

The Cana­dian Tax­pay­ers Fed­er­a­tion dropped off a pe­ti­tion at Trudeau’s of­fice Thurs­day bear­ing the sig­na­tures of more than 133,000 Cana­di­ans op­pos­ing the pay­out.

Trudeau said the les­son for future gov­ern­ments is that when they vi­o­late a Cana­dian’s rights, ev­ery­one pays.

“The mea­sure of a so­ci­ety — a just so­ci­ety — is not whether we stand up for peo­ple’s rights when it’s easy or pop­u­lar to do so. It’s whether we rec­og­nize rights when it’s dif­fi­cult, when it’s un­pop­u­lar.” the judge said, de­mands solid, cred­i­ble ev­i­dence that the per­son planned to thwart cred­i­tors or flout court or­ders.

“We’ve got to deal with that,” he told Winer. “If you can’t clear this cri­te­rion, we’re done.”

Winer’s ev­i­dence, how­ever, amounted to me­dia re­ports on Khadr’s re­cent set­tle­ment of his law­suit against Ot­tawa, an­nounced last week, for breach­ing his rights dur­ing his 10 years as a pris­oner at Guan­tanamo Bay.

TORONTO — The Toronto Pub­lic Li­brary is re­view­ing its poli­cies af­ter a gath­er­ing at a local branch to hon­our a lawyer who de­fended peo­ple associated with the white supremacy move­ment was met with wide­spread crit­i­cism. An an­nounce­ment for the event held Wed­nes­day at the Richview branch de­scribed it as a me­mo­rial for Bar­bara Ku­laszka, a lawyer whose clients in­cluded Marc Lemire, the leader of the now-dis­banded white supremacy group Her­itage Front.

The mayor asked for the event to be can­celled, but was told the li­brary was ad­vised by its lawyer that it could not refuse the book­ing, he said in a state­ment.

The Toronto Pub­lic Li­brary said it did not en­dorse the gath­er­ing but could not re­ject it so long as noth­ing il­le­gal oc­curred. Post­media Wire Ser­vices

FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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