The Kahdr settlement: A bodyguard of lies

By Beryl Wajsman on July 12, 2017

Free nations in order to survive in liberty do not negotiate with, pander to or reward terrorists. This has been the keystone of policy among all western countries for decades. The Trudeau government's decision to settle Omar Khadr's legal pursuit against Canada for the alleged violation of his sec.7 Charter rights protecting the "security and liberty of the person" is shameful in principle, distorts the 2010 Supreme Court decision upon which the Prime Minister claims to rely on, opens the door to the compromise of the very Charter protections he seeks to defend and potentially blocks the ability of the widow of the man Khadr killed to obtain redress under the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act that allows for the collection of damages from U.S. judgments in Canadian courts.

Defenders of the government's decision claim that the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Khadr's first legal salvos left Trudeau with no choice. The SCC's decision did nothing of the kind. The Prime Minister could have let Khadr's latest legal challenge run it's course instead of shaming Canada by settling out of court tacitly admitting this nation's "guilt" pre-emptively. It is a stain on this country and the memories of the sacrifices of our soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

The Supreme Court of Canada's 2010 decision came to three conclusions. First, the Charter does not apply to Canadians abroad. Yes, you read that right. This statement is the very opposite of what the Prime Minister claimed at the Hamburg G20 that the settlement could not be avoided because it was simply respecting the Charter. Khadr killed abroad. Second, the Court did decide however, that Canada violated Section 7 Charter provisions because Canadian diplomatic and security personnel participated in Khadr's questioning while in detention at Guantanamo and because Khadr was allegedly tortured (through sleep deprivation) by the Americans, Canadian authorities benefitted from information received as the "fruit of the poisonous tree." The Court did not find that Canadian autorities participated in any torture nor illegal detention.

But it was the Court's third set of findings that truly condemn the government's settlement. The Court ruled that the federal government had no obligation to request Khadr's repatriation. That imposing such an obligation would be "inconsistent with the framework of Canada's constitutional democracy and is not a judicial remedy within the powers of the courts. The federal government retains the prerogative power over foreign affairs, which includes making representations to foreign governments." The Court ruled that the prudent remedy was to declare that Mr. Khadr's rights had been violated on the technical grounds of Canadian authorities' participation in the questioning of Khadr but to allow the government to decide how to remedy that breach. It made no mention or recommendation of compensation at all. Quite the opposite.

The court made clear only that Canada has a constitutional duty to ensure that its officials do not participate in activities in foreign jurisdictions that violate Canadians' rights and values. Canada did not capture Khadr. It did not kidnap Khadr. It did not coerce any confession. It had no obligation to offer Charter protections abroad. It had no obligation to seek extradition. Does this government truly want Canadians to believe that because Canadian agents participated in questioning Khadr that this was a tort worth $10 million to an admitted terrorist and killer? Families of Canadian soldiers killed in action have their compensation capped at $360,000. What does this say about this government's interpretation of Canadian values?

One cannot end a critique of this infamous act without addressing some of the platitutdes of political correctness that have been bamdied about. The first is that as a "Canadian citizen" Khadr was entitled to the protection of Canadian law. While the Supreme Court has already ruled that this is not true for Canadians abroad, let us remember that many western countries have passed laws stripping citizenship for those who join Jihadist terrorists as Khadr did in becoming a member of Al-Qaeda. The second theme we have heard and read repeatedly is that Khadr, being 15 at the time he threw the grenade, should be treated as a "children soldier." That expression is generally applied to pre-teens kidnapped and forced into murder by terror armies like Joseph Komy's in Central Africa. We have had cases of minors in Canada tried for murder as adults. There is a difference between legal minors and "child soldiers." The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes "child soldiers" as being under the age of 15. If Canada starts applying lenient definitions like "child soldier" to Jihadist killers, what moral authority does this country have left? In fact, what dignity does it have left? Al-Qaeda was at war with the UN coalition that Canada was part of and had named Canada as a target country. Khadr's choice to join Al-Qaeda was an act of treason even before he threw the grenade. And let us not forget that Al-Qaeda - operating under Sharia Law - recognizes adulthood at the age of 13.

It is shameful that in Canada there has been little sympathy for the widow and children of Christopher Speer, the soldier Khadr admitted to killing who two days before his death had saved two Afghan children from Taliban brutality. Little mention that she has obtained a $102 million judgment against Khadr. Little mention that Khadr, rather than being summarily shot as a combatant by the American soldiers he had attacked, was actually nursed back to health by the medics of the squad.

At the least our government has lawyers who have perverted the interpretation of our own law. At worst, this action manifests some form of perverse exhibition against perceived Islamophobia.

In light of all this, the title of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 1978 Harvard commencement address resonates hauntingly today. "What is the joy about?" he challenged. He admonished us that, "...the most striking feature in the West today is the decline in courage. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party and of course in the United Nations. Political and intellectual functionaries proudly exhibit self-serving rationales as to how realistic, reasonable and even morally justifiable it is to base policies on weakness and cowardice..."

Not much should surprise us anymore as we have become so immersed in the smug, self-satisfied double standards that allow us to wrap ourselves in comfortable cloaks of political correctness while ignoring the stark reality of the moral bankruptcy that surrounds us. Yet there are still events that should shock us out of our reveries and make us realize that if we accept the current human condition without protest or contest then each of us will be judged complicit in the degeneration of our societies which can no longer tell right from wrong.


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Beryl P. Wajsman

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