In a rare show of tactical bipartisanship, the three opposition parties combined to ask four consecutive questions this afternoon on the matter of Omar Khadr. If the opposition persists on this front, it’ll be maybe another week before Irwin Cotler charges across the aisle and strangles Lawrence Cannon.

While reading his prepared lines—amazing that the Conservatives still want to be heard maintaining that Mr. Khadr has been treated “humanely”—the new Foreign Affairs Minister did manage to vow that “the Government of Canada does not want to interfere in the judicial sovereignty of another nation.”

This will surely come as some surprise to Saudi Arabia and the two young Canadians it is currently planning to behead.



  1. Maybe more of a surprise to the two young Canadians who await their fate.

  2. Perhaps the government’s policy should be that it will interfere in the judicial sovereignty of other nations only to stop people from being killed by those nations. Wait, damn, that’s the opposite of this government’s policy. Okay then, to stop young offenders from being killed by those nations. As such, this government applauds the former Liberal government’s successful efforts to ensure Mr. Khadr won’t be executed if convicted. This stuff practically writes itself!

  3. “the Government of Canada does not want to interfere in the judicial sovereignty of another nation.”

    Almost right. Absent military conquest, the Government of Canada cannot possibly interfere in the judicial sovereignty of another nation. Unless you think harrumphing from Parliament Hill or an embassy constitutes interference. It seems like Canada was ready to deploy military assets in A’stan for Melissa Fung. It seems, further, that Canada’s interests were/are not served by a similar military mission on Teheran (rest in piece, Mrs Khazemi), Guantanamo (can anyone remind the class where angel Omar’s life was saved by US military personnel prior to transfer, and what he was up to there?) or Riyadh.

    The best we are allowed to do is to ensure the Canadian gets no worse treatment than would any other national, or even citizen, in that country. Since Iran and Saudi Arabia have no trouble being brutal butchers to their own citizens, Canadians contemplating travelling to such miserable excuses for countries would do well to think twice before going there. Or at least brush up on the limits of Canadian sovereignty in foreign territory.

    Last thing on our national hero Omar Khadr. I am pretty sure the USA would like nothing more than to dump him back to Canada, like they have already done for many others. If it is not obvious to all that the former Liberal and current CPC governments have/had zero desire to repatriate this young man, then some have not been paying attention. My guess: Those former Lib and current CPC governments were accurately reading the mood of the country.

  4. Don’t forget, MYL, the CONs were in full agreement – nay, blatantly cheerleading about it – in the off-loading of Mahar Arar to a torture-happy Syria until coddling popular opinon led your man of principle to switch streams. That he’s having a harder time keeping his messaging clear while acting, or perhaps by other observers’ opinions, avoiding action, under imprisonment, detainment, threats of death.
    I know, I know, justice is in the eye of the beholder/disher-outer; but a little consistency in meme would go a long way to selling your spiel.

  5. Interesting, Dan. I will have to do a little googling to find the Conservatives’ cheerleading of the Arar offload during a prior Liberal government reign, because I recall none. But then, alleged conbot that I am, I wouldn’t be expected to, now would I? Or you could perhaps share the rah-rah Tory quotes of the day with us and save me the trouble.

  6. And as for consisitency in meme in re Khadr:

    Liberals in government: Khadr? Guantanamo? Who? What? Never heard of ’em.
    morphs to…
    Liberals in opposition: Free this twenty-something-year-old former innocent child from the evil American gulag, you heartless Tories!

    Tories in opposition: crickets.
    morphs to…
    Tories in government: crickets.

  7. Once again Ottawa proves that politics provides exception to the rule that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  8. Come on Aaron. They’ve said in the past that “another nation” means western style democracies with fair judicial systems. Say what you want about Guantanamo, but overall the US justice system, while not perfect (find me one that is?), is considered fair by world standards, and the Conservatives are not going to intervene. Saudi Arabia? Not so much. There is nothing inconsistent here.

    I’d certainly like to know why the opposition, who in the face of the worst economic crisis in the history of ever, wants to waste their daily question allotment on this guy.

  9. Hello? Saudi Arabia? My boss thinks you’re a bunch of jerks. Can we talk?

  10. is considered fair by world standards

    Highest rate of incarceration in the Word? Politicised judiciary and corrupt attorneys general? Clandestine military operations that legally escape oversight? Outright rejection of international law? Suspension of habeas corpus? Rendition? Torture?

    “Fair” is a complete myth. The only thing I’m confident about is that eventually justice mostly prevails in the US, although usually long after it ceased mattering.

  11. “Say what you want about Guantanamo, but overall the US justice system, while not perfect (find me one that is?), is considered fair by world standards, ”

    Oh really? Then please explain how it is that every other “western style democracies with fair judicial systems” successfully fought to have their citizens repatriated, making Khadr the ONLY westerner still in Gitmo?

    How can this government continue to toe the Bush line on this one when even the new President has vowed to close down Gitmo? Isn’t that a tacit admission that detention in that centre is not only illegal but also morally reprehensible?

  12. “Why would the Prime Minister intervene to gain the release of somebody that apparently the RCMP asks U.S. authorities to apprehend,” Mr. Day asked in an interview.

    When they thought everything was lovely about this gentlemen he was talking about him all over the place. And now when he gets some information that he’s dangerous, all of a sudden it’s oops, maybe I shouldn’t have said something.

  13. For MadeYouLook, a truth conveniently obfuscated (altho thanks to Hansard, Harper, Day and Ablonczy’s words will remain part of the official record):

    In November 2002, then-Opposition leader Stephen Harper chastised former Liberal foreign affairs minister Bill Graham for “engaging in high-level consultations to defend a suspected terrorist.”

    Stockwell Day, now Conservative public safety minister, went further at the time. He assailed the Liberals for “hitting the snooze button on security matters.”

    And then-Canadian Alliance MP Diane Ablonczy, now also a Conservative, perhaps went farthest. She called Liberal security checks “pathetic.”

    “Arar was given dual Syrian and Canadian citizenship by the government,” she told the House of Commons on Nov. 18, 2002. “It did not pick up on his terrorist links and the U.S. had to clue it in.”

    Arar was deported to Syria after being detained by U.S. authorities in New York in September 2002. He spent months in a tomb-like cell in Damascus where he falsely confessed under torture to links with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network…

    from ctv.ca

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