Martin expresses regret about Khadr
HALIFAX - Former prime minister Paul Martin said he thinks a federal payout to Omar Khadr could have been avoided had Ottawa handled the situation differently from the start. Speaking after receiving an award in Halifax, Martin told The Canadian Press he wishes Ottawa had taken a different approach in the early stages of the Khadr case, but his own government had to work with the hand it had been dealt. “I think it was a situation that was not well handled by a succession of governments, and I think obviously hindsight demonstrates that,” Martin said in a phone interview Thursday. “Unfortunately, we continued with the precedent that had been established by ... previous governments, and certainly one could argue that more could have been done at that stage, and I wish it had been.”
In 2002, the Canadian-born Khadr was imprisoned in the notorious U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo, Cuba, accused of killing an American soldier/medic during a firefight in Afghanistan at the age of 15. Martin, who became prime minister in late 2003 after serving in the previous Liberal cabinet, said he feels the Khadr case was on track for a federal settlement by the time he came to power.