Khadr payoff absolutely shocking

July 17, 2017, 11:51 am

John Gormley John Gormley

John Gormley is a broadcaster, lawyer, author and former Progressive Conservative MP whose radio talk show is heard weekdays from 8:30am – 12:30pm on 650 CKOM Saskatoon and 980 CJME Regina.


Like a mythical serpent eating itself, it was a sight to behold as Saskatchewan Liberal MP and Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale swallowed himself on national television trying to defend the indefensible as the government paid Omar Khadr $10.5 million and apologized to him.

As a teen fighting in Afghanistan on the side of the Taliban, just weeks before his 16th birthday, Khadr pleaded guilty to the “murder in violation of the laws of war” of U.S. Delta Force medic Sgt. Chris Speer who was killed by a hand grenade tossed after a firefight in 2002.

Khadr was held for 10 years in the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay and was released to Canada where he spent three more years in jail before being freed on bail in 2015.

Saying that the Liberal government had “no choice” but to pay Khadr, Mr. Goodale gazed at the cameras, tucked in his chin, lowered his voice half an octave and opined with great gravitas.

But the redoubtable politician act fell flat. Within seconds, Goodale was desperately trying to justify the Khadr payout because the “Harper government” had not “repatriated Mr. Khadr or otherwise resolved the matter.”

In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) clearly ruled that the federal government did not have to repatriate Khadr.

The Court, however, did rule that Khadr’s international human rights and his Charter right to “life, liberty and security of the person” had been violated back in 2003 when Canadian officials sent to Guantanamo Bay interviewed Khadr and then turned over the transcripts to his American captors.

The SCC has never ordered damages to be paid to Khadr.

Oddly, Goodale mentioned none of this. Nor did he explain his own personal role as a senior Liberal Cabinet Minister from 2002-2006 when he was presumably briefed on Khadr sitting in Guantanamo Bay.

It was only later, safely back home, that Khadr sued Canada, demanding $20 million for his rights violations.

To understand the frustration and anger of right thinking and fair minded Canadians—71 per cent of whom oppose Goodale and Trudeau’s unconscionable decision—two things must be realized.

First, real people never bought the spin surrounding Khadr, so skillfully crafted by his legal team elites in the media and politics.

While many people acknowledge some factual ambiguity in the case, they will not accept the unquestioning dogma that Khadr was a completely blameless victim, an innocent manipulated and brainwashed by evil parents, pressed into action as a “child soldier” and incapable of renouncing violence.

They won’t buy that he could not control his own actions (including smirking on videos) as he proudly built and buried roadside bombs designed to kill and maim young Canadian and allied soldiers.

And, while the guileless little Omar seemed to know specific details of the killing when he admitted to it under oath, it turns out he was lying all along—heroically, of course, to thwart the evil Americans—to escape sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.

His current “I can’t remember, maybe I dreamed it all” version lacks an air of reality.

Second, Canadians understand that if you claim to be entitled to something, then you’d best prove it.

Had Trudeau and Goodale not ended this case by paying Khadr millions, the final determination of his demand for damages could have ended up in the hands of the Supreme Court, as it arguably should have.

So far, no Court has established a test for compensating someone whose rights have been violated after they were actively fighting against Canada on foreign soil, betraying their own citizenship and admitting to deliberately killing an allied soldier.

While litigation costs and the final payment might (or might not) have been more expensive had the case gone to trial, the principle of paying a terrorist is too important not to have final judicial certainty.

Having a trial also would have seen the long overdue testing of Khadr under cross-examination.

Beyond lawyers and publicists speaking for him and several softball interviews from friendly media, no one has ever heard Khadr explain himself in his own words.

Far from “no choice,” the Trudeau Liberals had plenty of choices. They just made the wrong one that embarrassed Canadians and betrayed our values.