Omar Khadr: pro or con?

The Fourth of July is Independence Day in the United States.

It was also on July 4 this week when it was reported that the Liberal government had agreed to apologize and pay $10.5 million to Omar Khadr.

Khadr was sentenced to 40 years in prison for participating in an al-Qaeda sponsored war crime after admitting to killing U.S. Army combat medic Sgt. Christopher Speer.

This decision by the Liberals to potentially pay in excess of $10 million to Khadr has created the largest amount of negative feedback and in many cases outrage, of any issue I have come across during my time in elected office.

The questions I most frequently am asked is, why did the Liberals offer this deal to Khadr and what can be done to stop it?

The Liberals have yet to formally confirm or explain the reasons behind this reported $10.5 million payment.

What we do know is that the Supreme Court was of the opinion that Khadr’s human rights were violated when he was in prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that Canadians officials were aware of this.

It should be noted that the Supreme Court rulings on Khadr’s human rights violations did not include any financial compensation.

As a result, Khadr commenced legal action against the Canadian government, suggesting it should be held responsible for the treatment he received at Guantanamo Bay.

For reasons yet unknown, rather than vigorously fight this lawsuit, it is reported that the Liberals have instead offered $10.5 million and an apology to settle this legal claim.

In a related action, the widow of the U.S. Army medic killed by Khadr filed a legal action in 2015 against Khadr and was awarded $134.2-million in damages in the U.S. 

It has also been reported the widow may file a claim in Canada in an effort to have the $134-million judgment enforced in Canada, thus potentially impacting the payment of the $10.5 million to Khadr.

So back to the original question, what can be done to stop this?

Only the Liberal government can stop this agreement and related payment. If that were to occur, the legal case would most certainly continue.

Most of the documented involvement of Canadian officials was between 2003 and 2004 under the Liberal governments of former prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

If this case were to move forward, it is conceivable the former actions of these governments would be heavily scrutinized.

For the record, I was a member of the Conservative caucus in the previous 41st Parliament where the Conservative government staunchly opposed the payment of any funds to Khadr.

It should also be pointed out that some do support the payment to Khadr and have applauded the Liberals for offering a settlement as opposed to more litigation.

My question this week is:

  • do you support or oppose the $10.5 million payment to Omar Khadr?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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