Canada v. Khadr, the Empire Strikes Back -

Canada v. Khadr, the Empire Strikes Back


After the jump, the official statement from Foreign Affairs on the government’s second appeal of the Federal Court ruling that it repatriate Omar Khadr.

For the sake of argument, here is the Supreme Court’s previous ruling on issues related to Khadr’s imprisonment and here is the Federal Court’s ruling.

Both links courtesy of the indispensable Khadr files database maintained here.


Supreme Court Appeal:

The Government of Canada has consistently stated that Omar Khadr faces serious charges. After careful consideration of the legal merits of the ruling from the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal, the Government has decided to seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. As the matter is currently under litigation, we will provide no further comment at this time. The Government of Canada has filed a motion for stay pending appeal.

Canada’s Position:

Our position regarding Mr. Khadr remains unchanged. In fact, it is the same policy held by two previous governments. Omar Khadr has been accused of serious crimes (including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, material support for terrorism and spying, all in violation of the laws of war).

President Obama has not communicated any decision to the Government of Canada with respect to the case of Mr. Khadr. As you know the Obama administration has recently taken decisions to proceed with the closure of Guantanamo, halt the judiciary process and also to evaluate each of the cases. It is in our interest to wait for the outcome of these decisions just put forward by President Obama. The Government of Canada has taken its responsibilities with regards to Mr. Khadr, and we will also take our responsibilities when the US Government shares its decision on this case.

We continue to closely monitor the situation, including the work of the American committee formed to study the fate of Guantanamo detainees, including Mr. Khadr. Departmental officials have carried out several welfare visits with Mr. Khadr and will continue to do so. We will not speculate on hypothetical scenarios.


Canada v. Khadr, the Empire Strikes Back

  1. Regardless of whether you think Khadr should be repatriated or left in Gitmo…does anyone else have a problem with the legality of the Federal Court (or any court for that matter) ordering the government that it must "attempt" to do something that it ultimately has no control over? How hard do they have to try?

    Harper: "Hey Barack, can we have Khadr back?"
    Obama: "No"
    Harper: "OK, thanks anyways, I have now complied with the court order"

    Harper: "Hey Barack, can we have Khadr back?"
    Obama: "Only if you re-open the softwood lumber agreement"
    Harper: "Umm…the court said I have to try, so…"

    • What do you mean we have no control? Canada is the ONLY western country that still have citizens left in Gitmo! All of the other countries with civilized governments demanded that their citizens be repatriated and that's exactly what happened.

    • What do you mean we have no control? Canada is the ONLY western country that still have citizens left at Gitmo! All of the other countries with civilized governments demanded that their citizens be repatriated and that's exactly what happened.

    • That honestly bothered me, however less so when I read the ruling of the Federal Court. While I agree that we don't want the court setting international policy, it is the court's obligation to establish whether a person's charter rights are being violated. The most important part of the court's ruling was that indeed Khadr's rights had been violated by the Canadian government. (I know a lot of posters would disagree and hate the Supreme Court/Charter of Rights construct…damm you PET! etc. ( The US government no doubt violated his rights as well, but our charter does not apply to them). In notifying the Canadian government that they were impinging on a citizen's charter rights, it is reasonable that the court would expect the government to take steps to mitigate the damage. I agree that in being presciptive the courts were going too far… however they may have felt that the solution was obvious.

    • I don't think there's a realistic problem here. Making a request itself is completely within the government's authority, and the fact that they don't control the result of the request makes it easier, not harder.

    • "How hard do they have to try?"

      What will it cost if they don't?

      • Exactly, The SCC will overturn this bizarre ruling.

        This from someone who 1) believes that the government is making a mistake in not asking for Khadr's return and 2) is a strong supporter of the Charter and the courts' role in interpreting and upholding it. But the Federal Court's decision makes no sense.

        • The smart money would be against that statement.

        • My point was that unlike myself who uses it for recreational purposes, when the time comes the GoC will not be able use ambiguity as a defense

        • My point was that unlike myself who uses it for recreational purposes, when the time comes the GoC will not be able us use ambiguity as a defense

  2. The problem with your logic is that they had that scenario now. There was no need to take this to the Supreme Court, they could have just said, "we will comply with the Federal Court of Appeal" and all of your comments would have been well met. The risk of being shot down by the SCC is enormous, in my opinion. Which leaves me with the conclusion that craigola was right on the earlier thread, and they're doing this on purpose for political reasons only.

    • Once they took it to the Federal Court of Appeal, they wouldn't have had a choice but to take it to the SCoC. They can go back to their base and blame a deficit budget on the Liberals, but what can they say to the red meat crowd about someone like Khadr? "Yeah, we took it that far, but after that, we just decided not to bother with the one last step."

      • Thanks, Stewart!

        And of course they wouldn't couch it in those terms, craigola. They would say something more along the lines of "We determined there was no point in sending this to the Supreme Court since we all know that bench is filled with a bunch of revisionist judges bent on extending their power into the legislation of this country. We determined it was better not to give them that opportunity. When enough of them retire that we have appointed a full complement of justices, that will be the time to assert our control over our own Foreign Affairs."

    • excellent point as always Jenn

    • I agree that they're just doing this for political reasons (frankly, I don't think the government even thinks, behind closed doors, that they're going to win this, but as craigola states, to satisfy the base I think they feel compelled to take this as far as it can go, and that means appealing it until there's no more venues left in which to appeal it). If they don't appeal to the SCC, the base will not be happy. By appealing to the Supreme Court, they can legitimately look the base in the eye and say "Look, we did everything we could not to help the guy, but the Liberal-appointed Supreme Court got all "Charter this" and "Fundamental rights that" on us, and hey, what're ya gonna do?

      • Then they are stupider than I even thought, because as I say they could do that without the added expense of the Supreme Court thing, and the additional monies deserved when he finally gets home and sues our asses off.

        But, since they are obviously appealing it, you are probably right.

        • Stewart_Smith was bang on in his comment, er, someplace else around here, that by far the bitterest irony will come after Khadr wins millions of dollars in damages from the Canadian government because they obstinately refused to do the right thing, and he drops it all into the nearest Al Quaida bank account.
          If there's someone out there who wants to get to work on it right away, I would be glad to start enjoying the attack ad anytime it's ready for showing: Stephen Harper and his government provide support for terrorists.

  3. Meanwhile, over in the court of public opinion, a quick look at the thumbs up/thumbs down on the comments posted, shows Harper is winning the argument by about 2 to 1.

  4. CTV's comment board is now the "court of public opinion?"


    • I was just going to say that!

      I wonder what the court of public opinion on the Conservative website is running at? Or is it the same website.

    • You got a BETTER online, quick source for gaging public opinion ? If so, post the link.

      All I know is that a vote from someone over at CTV equals a vote from someone over here, or anywhere else. And right now Harper is getting 2 votes, while the three Opps get to fight over 1. Not good for the Opps, if Khadr becomes one of the wedge issues in the next election.

      • No, CTV is definitely the place for GAGING public opinion! I'm so sorry CJ, I just couldn't resist today. I realize typo jokes are not in good taste.

        You are right. Far too many people would be happy to stomp on someone's human rights because someone said something, not because the guy has ever had a fair trial (or trial of any kind, come to that). We DO know that his father was a known terrorist–therefore the sins of the father must be paid by the son. As long as it isn't the CTV commentator's father or son, that is.

        But your point that it is a worrying trend is a good one.

  5. Omar Khadr has been accused of serious crimes (including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, material support for terrorism and spying, all in violation of the laws of war)

    How utterly _stupid_ can these people be?

    "War has like these rules you see, so us carpet-bombing civilians to rout them terrists out is okay but oh boy, when you start to murder or attempt to murder us…well…that's just crossing a line…"

  6. we do not want Khadr back because he is a murdering terrorist. We do not want his family here because they financed his training. Ship them all back where they came from and stop importing people from nations who dont like us. I will be very blunt. These people come here with no intention of integrating or being one of us. This proves it. Now they want us tax payers to pick up the bill to get this terrorist out of trouble. Send his family back where they came from as undesirables and let the americans hang Khadr in Gitmo. September 11 2001 taught me all i need to know about Islam.

  7. close the borders to all muslims and sikhs as none of them work and all of them cause trouble.
    It is the logical thing to do.
    We do not need to import problems from these non civilized places.
    We dont want them here
    They are here because the politicians want easy votes.
    If you do not have skills and are of no value, then do not let them in.
    We as REAL CITIZENS who were born here and work hard demand it.
    The Liberal party brings nothing but shame to this country. Once proud but now with Iggy and Dalton they are just an embarrassment and disgrace.