The Commons: 'The facts have not changed' -

The Commons: ‘The facts have not changed’

Court rules that the government must seek Omar Khadr’s repatriation. Tories to consider an appeal.


HarperinhouseThe Scene. Ralph Goodale stood with breaking news.

“Mr. Speaker, this was not a good morning for a Conservative government in abject denial,” the Liberal house leader reported. “A Federal Court judge has just ruled that the Prime Minister is legally obliged to immediately press the United States to return Omar Khadr to Canada.”

The Liberals applauded. The Conservatives grumbled.

“We have been telling the Conservatives to do so for years. The American process was deeply flawed. Now the courts have said so too,” Goodale continued. “Will the Prime Minister confirm that he will comply with today’s ruling of the Federal Court?”

The Prime Minister, listening impassively, took a sip from the glass of water on his desk. When the Liberal finished, he stood and spoke in his reasonable voice. “Mr. Speaker,” he said, “of course for years this government has been continuing exactly the same policy that the previous government had.”

In fairness, that the Prime Minister has been the Prime Minister for some three years is sometimes lost on him. Such is his regard for his predecessors that it often does not occur to him that he might contradict their negligence. 

“The facts, in our judgment, have not changed,” the Prime Minister continued.

He did not clarify to which he facts he was referring. For sure, there are many realities that now seem beyond debate. Indeed, while Mr. Khadr guilt or innocence has yet to be decided, judgment of his treatment by the country Mr. Harper presently leads is now passed. “Canada had a duty to protect Mr. Khadr from being subjected to any torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, from being unlawfully detained, and from being locked up for a duration exceeding the shortest appropriate period of time,” Justice O’Reilly wrote today. “In Mr. Khadr’s case, while Canada did make representations regarding his possible mistreatment, it also participated directly in conduct that failed to respect Mr. Khadr’s rights.”

And as the judge ruled of Mr. Harper’s government specifically: “The ongoing refusal of Canada to request Mr. Khadr’s repatriation to Canada offends a principle of fundamental justice and violates Mr. Khadr’s rights under s. 7 of the Charter.”

“We will be looking at the decision very carefully and obviously considering an appeal,” Mr. Harper finished.

With that, Goodale proceeded to concerns about the economic state of the country. By the third question, the Liberal house leader was talking fast and loud and Harper, who’d done so well to keep his hands folded in front of him at his waist for his first two answers, was yelling and pointing.

The government benches were wildly impressed. Standing to applaud, James Moore put a fist to his own chin to simulate the apparent beating Mr. Goodale had just endured. Sitting down, the Heritage Minister called loudly to the “punching bag from Wascana.”

After a couple more questions on our fiscal situation, discussions returned to less metaphorical abuse.

“Mr. Speaker, a Federal Court judge has just ordered the Prime Minister to repatriate Omar Khadr, the young Canadian citizen imprisoned in Guantanamo for six years,” Gilles Duceppe reinterated. “Will the Prime Minister bow to the order of the court and repatriate Omar Khadr in Guantanamo?”

“Mr. Speaker, as I said, it is a federal policy that has long been the case,” the Prime Minister responded. “We will review the decision of the court and we will consider an appeal on that decision.”

Duceppe tried once more. “Mr. Speaker, Omar Khadr is a child soldier and the Canadian government has violated the Convention on the rights of children, by leaving him in a cell at Guantanamo for six years,” he noted. “Will the Prime Minister obey the order of the federal court and, if so, why wait so long?”

The Prime Minister left this one to Lawrence Cannon, the Foreign Affairs Minister bravely adding an adverb to his repeating of the Prime Minister’s remarks.

“Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has stated very clearly that we would obviously review the decision that was made,” he said, “and that we would seriously consider the possibility of appealing that decision.”

The discussion ended there, debate turning to matters of taxation and credit card fees, the day climaxing with a heated exchange between Conservatives and New Democrats as to whether or not the Canadian flag pins for sale in the Parliament Hill gift shop were, indeed, manufactured in China.

The Stats. Credit cards, five questions. The economy, four questions. Omar Khadr and agriculture, three questions each. Taxation, border security, firearms, bilingualism, listeriosis, ethics, transportation, the CBC and flag pins, two questions each. Crime, arts funding, foreign aid, maternity leave, respiratory illness and the auto industry, one question each.

Stephen Harper and Christian Paradis, five answers each. Ted Menzies, Peter Van Loan, Jean-Pierre Blackburn and James Moore, four answers each. Gerry Ritz, three answers. Denis Lebel and Rob Merrifield, two answers each. Lawrence Cannon, Vic Toews, Bev Oda, Ed Komarnicki, Leona Aglukkaq and Tony Clement, one answer each.


The Commons: ‘The facts have not changed’

  1. No hand-chopping today. Is the PM ill?

    • He obviously was rather displeased the Federal Court gave his government a defeat on this issue.

      • Is it just me, or is there a statistical correlation between being partisan and being outrageously boooooring? You always know just what they’re gonna say, the point they’re gonna make and how they’re going to point it out. We should have one Liberal, one Conservative, and one NDP spokesperson on the Macleans blogs, and save everyone else the trouble.

        • It’s just you.

        • No, it’s not just you.

          On the other hand, it’s interesting to see just how far partisanship can go, when people ignore the glaringly obvious to remain true to their partisan leanings.

          Also, it’s not just the commenters, the same can be said for the partisan bloggers (there are a couple at Maclean’s), who somehow always seem to come out on the same side of every issue. You know what their conclusion will be (Libs bad, Cons good), the only thing you don’t know is how they will argue themselves into that conclusion.

          • or Libs good, Cons bad, depending upon the commenter or blogger, of course.

    • Lawrence Cannon: safe for another day.

  2. “…when the revolution goes down?”

    Is that you confirming that things will get so bad here under Conservative rule that it will trigger a revolution, o dogged one?

    p.s. Prime Minister Harper, is that you?

  3. What revolution? The handful of Texan wannabes living in Alberta with fantasies of secession?

    Dream on. Even in Alberta you’re grossly outnumbered by people who will never go there in a thousand years.

  4. How much more reviling can it get….leaving one of our own to rot in a former torture chamber in a a foreign country? Who decides that presumption of guilt supersedes presumption of innocence? Bring Khdar home for crying out loud, and let justice deal with him here. Isn’t a crying shame that a judge in a court room has to convince this government on its dereliction of duty.

    Only have to look at what happened to the tax audit on another citizen (B.C.) on another matter. Governments don’t give a sweet crap about individuals……they cater only to the masses where votes on their behalf counts. I say it’s time that “we the people” take back our Country and keep booting governments out until they come to the full realization that they are representing/serving, and accountable to “we” the citizens of Canada.

    • one of our own


      • He is a citizen of this country. His citizenship has not been revoked by order of the Crown nor has he denounced it. He was a child under Canadian law when he was taken to his father’s home country and indoctrinated in to a terrorist group. As a citizen of this country and the ONLY Western citizen not to be repatriated to his home country for prosecution, Omar Khadr remains a shining example of the Harper government’s confused, pandering foreign policy.

        • I don’t care if a terrorist is a citizen or not. And if you commit terror on foreign lands, you cannot expect your government to bail you out.

          • He still hasn’t been tried for anything he’s been charged with, reality denier. Now leave mummy’s computer alone, silly little baby.

  5. Is this piece intended to report on what actually went on in Parliament? If yes, we do not need the snotty editorializing. I think that Mr. Goodale and other members of the Opposition are quite capable of defending their points of view and we the audience capable of evaluating politicians remarks without the play-by-play commentary from Aaron Wherry. (e.g. “Such is his regard for his predecessors that it often does not occur to him that he might contradict their negligence. “) The tone of this article as well as the catty partisan remarks are really very juvenile.

    • You nailed it, Rose. My thoughts exactly!!

      • Surely you recognize the frightful toll enforced attendance at Parliament can take on a person? Cut Mr. Wherry some slack.

    • Rose, if you want pure unfiltered rhetoric you’re welcome to join the other 6 die-hard viewers on CPAC every day.

      For the rest of us, it’s nice to read an account that is, for all intents and purposes, far more entertaining then actually attending in person. It’s a pretty select group who actually attends for the pure joy of witnessing parliamentary procedure and banter.

    • Who forced you to read it?

      • Better yet, explain to your fearless leader how he is giving easy fodder to the evil liberal media.

      • Oh, so you are saying that all comments must be in agreement with the post?

    • Rose, you are absolutely correct.

  6. Why does the PM even show up for QP? Anybody know, because the (Canadian) networks appear to have tuned him out.

  7. Ell Eff, I’m sure you realize that the Shaidle link essentially proves that you’re a satirist.

  8. Khadr should be brought home, and EXECUTED FOR TREASON HERE.

    • Omar Khadr committed treason?

      I think you’re confusing this case with some other case (I can’t put my finger on).

      Khadr is the child soldier who was one of two people who may have thrown a grenade at US troops during a regular war-time type incident. You must be confusing him with someone else.

      • Plus – even typing in ALL CAPS doesn’t change the fact that Canada doesn’t have the death penalty.

        Not even for TREASON.

    • Even that is a waste of taxpayer money.

  9. Your surrealist cred has been established many times, and it amazes me that there are still fish who impale themselves on your hook. Nonetheless, I am convinced you are a misunderstood genius, and I therefore welcome your contributions under whichever doppelganger you choose.

  10. And we wonder why some Americans think Canada to be a safe haven for terrorists.

    • I’m fairly convinced most American’s would be shocked to learn that Canada has international airports and a thriving port system.

      • Yeah, but they’re still made out of blocks of snow.

  11. El Eff, I am forced to admit that incapable of following the logical connection between western separatism and the xenophobic Shaidle link.

    Obviously I recognize this is my shortcoming and I bow before your superior reasoning skills.

  12. Maybe before we bring him home to nurture and coddle, we should do the trial thing, you know, where we find out if he is as innocent as some would claim, or should we forego the trial and go with the immortal words of a liberal backbencher

    “Hang him, hang him high.”

    Because apparently only left leaning libbers have the ability to foresee verdicts in high profile cases.

  13. It’s touching to see the absolute reverence with which our conservative brothers and sisters uphold that outdated concept that binds our justice system together – innocense until guilt is proven and a fair trail before a jury of your peers. Brings a tear to my eye, everytime it does.

    • Hem, hem…trial.

    • That was great. It would be cool if they could organise something like that in the House.

      • I could see it now….. Stephan Harper would not be amused! Heck he’d probably have them arrested.

        • er..Stephen.

        • : ) I was thinking the MP’s themselves, though!

    • That’s cute. Think it’ll work in the HOCs?

      • Ah Jack always one step and 5 mins ahead of me.

        • LOL Funny we had exactly the same reaction.

    • David who?

      • Usta work at the NattyPoo. Surely you would remember that.

    • Awesome!

      • -.. –…–.–

  14. Harper must appeal this decision. This is the legal opinion of one judge.

    What would we do with Khadr here in Canada? He has committed no crime in Canada or against a Canadian citizen so we cannot put him on trial. Do we just let him go? That would be a slap in the face to our American allies since Khadr is accused to killing a US army medic. Let him face the US judicial system, whatever that is for someone who was captured on a battlefield, not in the service of any recongized army, and now has the status of an illegal combattant. How Khadr is tried is for the Americans to figure out. He is their problem, not ours.

    • Which “allies” are you suggesting we side with JMD? The apologists for torture who have been removed from office, and may face sanctions as a result? As for slaps in the face, isn’t that what the adminsitration did last week by releasing those memos? And what judicial system? The whole point is that they don’t seem to have one for Guantanamo.

      • And if you consider this a battlefield, isn’t it a little odd to treat a prisoner of war as a murderer?

        • He is not a POW, Although he was fighting, he was not serving in any recognized army. They had to invent a category of prisoner for people like Khadr. Since he is not a POW, he could be tried as a murderer — don’t know if such a charge would stick though. I just wish they would get on with it so we don’t have to hear about him anymore. Far too much attention has been wasted on this Khadr bunch.

      • The allies who are fighting at our side in Afghanistan. The allies who fought at our sides in Korea, World War 2 and World War 1. Those alllies. The USA. The Americans captured Khadr; it is up to them to figure out what to do with him. As far as Canda is concerned, the Khadr clan are just citizens of convenience. To hell with them.

        • The Americans are not fighting at our site in Afghanistan, we are fighting at their side: they were the ones who got attacked and we were the ones who rushed to help our ally. How do they repay us? They imprison a Canadian citizen without trial for 7 years. Thanks, allies, we’ll try and remember how much our citizens count for next time ’round.

          • Side by each, Jack. I will leave it to you to determine who is at who’s side. (BTW, are you a lawyer? I ask because you exhibit that lawyerly skill once described by Alan Fotheringham — the ability to extract fly shit from pepper while wearing boxing gloves.)

            All I know is 24 Canadians were killed on 9-11; the bad guys who planned the op were holed up in Afghanistan; and eventually NATO, of which Canada is a founding member, responded militarily to try and ensure the bad guys cannot use Afghanistan again as a base to attack any NATO country.

            Boo hoo for this poor little Canadian citizen. The Americans didn’t exactly sneak across the border and snatch him from his bed. The little bugger was armed and was trying to fulfill the fondest dreams of his Mommy and Daddy by dying for Allah after taking out a few infidels. Unfortunately he failed. No virgins for little Omar. Just a Gitmo cage.

          • “are not fighting at our side in Afghanistan, we are fighting at their side”

            Talk about complete nonsense, it’s impossible to be side-by-side asymmetrically.

            Imprison a canadian citizen? The guy was fighting for the Taliban! Are you insane?