There are plenty of outraged conservatives out there angry that Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to take Omar Khadr back. The argument goes that the government never should have agreed to sing onto the plea deal that saw him sentenced to eight years in prison and able to apply for return to Canada after one year.
But would have rejecting that part of the offer have changed anything?
I’d have to say the evidence says no. Mad as I am that Khadr is in Canada and will likely be freed by next summer, not much would have changed had Harper said no.
Prior to the Harper government’s arrival in 2006 the transfer of prisoners, other than Khadr, from American prisons to Canadian prisons was routine and essentially rubber stamped. But rejecting some applications has not been met with kindly by the justice system in this country.
Last June a judge ordered the government to take another look at an application of a fellow in jail in the US after being caught with 119 kilos of cocaine. This was the 15th time a judge had ordered a re-do for the government.
So imagine that the US made Khadr the offer, serve eight years and apply for return to Canada after one and the Harper government said no. If that had happened Khadr’s lawyers would have been aware, the plea deal would not have been stopped and the rejection by the Canadian government would have been used in a court proceeding to force Khadr’s return.
At best saying no to that part of the deal would have delayed Khadr’s return to Canada by six to 12 months but at worst a leftie judge would have used it in a ruling to bring Khadr back even earlier.
I don’t like that Khadr is here but getting mad at the government for allowing this to happen makes about as much sense as being angry that they didn’t do enough to stop the sun from rising.
Remember, the jury wanted to give him 40 years, the Obama admin said 8 would do.
Cant’ say I’m happy about this but we knew it was coming. Now the question is how long will he spend in a Canadian jail before he is set free?
Here is the statement from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews
Good morning. I will be making a short statement.
Early this morning, convicted terrorist Omar Khadr was transferred to Canadian authorities at CFB Trenton.
This was done pursuant to a decision I made earlier this week.
He arrived at 07:40 ET aboard a U.S. Government aircraft travelling from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He has been transferred from CFB Trenton to Millhaven maximum security prison at Bath, Ontario.
Omar Khadr is a known supporter of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and a convicted terrorist.
He pleaded guilty to the murder of Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, an American Army medic, who was mortally wounded in a firefight in Afghanistan on July 27, 2002 and died on August 6, 2002.
Omar Khadr also pleaded guilty to:
• Providing material support for terrorism;
• Attempted murder in violation of the law of war;
• Conspiracy and spying
Omar Khadr was born in Canada and is a Canadian citizen. As a Canadian citizen, he has a right to enter Canada after the completion of his sentence.
This transfer occurs following a process initiated by the United States Government and determined in accordance with Canadian law.
The remainder of his prison sentence will be administered by the Correctional Service of Canada.
I am satisfied the Correctional Service of Canada can administer Omar Khadr’s sentence in a manner which recognizes the serious nature of the crimes that he has committed and ensure the safety of Canadians is protected during incarceration.
Any decisions related to his future will be determined by the independent Parole Board of Canada in accordance with Canadian law.
Here is the statement from Liberal Leader Bob Rae
Statement by Liberal Leader Bob Rae on the Repatriation of Omar Khadr
OTTAWA– Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement today on the repatriation of Omar Khadr:
“Omar Khadr’s return to Canada is long overdue. Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was a child soldier. It is extremely unfortunate that it took the Conservative government this long to fulfil its responsibility to bring him back to Canada.
Now Mr. Khadr will serve the remainder of his sentence under the supervision of the Canadian correctional system, and we can ensure that he receives proper treatment and rehabilitation.”
The NDP has issued a statement welcoming Khadr back as well
STATEMENT FROM FOREIGN AFFAIRS CRITIC PAUL DEWAR AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CRITIC WAYNE MARSTON ON THE REPATRIATION OF OMAR KHADR
Today, the Conservatives ended nearly a decade of unnecessary delays and allowed Omar Khadr to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Canada. Canada is the last Western country to repatriate their citizens from the discredited Guantanamo prison system.
Mr. Khadr’s return to Canada was inevitable, yet the Conservatives chose to drag this process out for years at great cost to taxpayers. Their mishandling has hurt our relationship with the United States, our closest ally, and tarnished Canada’s reputation on the international stage.
Both the Supreme Court of Canada and the U.S. Supreme Court, based on the full facts of this case, have found that the military commission proceedings in Guantanamo violated both U.S. domestic law and Canada’s international human rights obligations.
Conservatives have previously faced court judgments against them for their mishandling of the case and failure to respect human rights.
The government should now allow Mr. Khadr to be handled by Canadian authorities in accordance with Canadian law, free from interference.
Brian Lilley is the host of Byline on Sun News Network and a senior correspondent for Sun Media's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. His weekly column is published in more than 30 daily newspapers across Canada and he appears on several leading talk radio stations.
Watch Byline at 9pm ET Monday to Friday and read Brian's columns in your Friday papers.
Brian Lilley is Senior Correspondent for Sun Media on Parliament Hill.
Brian has been covering politics for the last 10 years. Five of those years were spent as Ottawa Bureau Chief.