Politics on TV: Sunday, Sept. 30 edition - Macleans.ca

Politics on TV: Sunday, Sept. 30 edition


Message of the day

“Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen”

Questions not answered

  • Will the Conservatives and NDP agree to revisit Barbara George’s case in order to clear her name?

Omar Khadr:

John Baird was on Question Period where he confirmed the U.S. applied pressure around Khadr’s repatriation. He said since Khadr is a Canadian citizen, Canada didn’t have any choice but to take him back. He denied that the leak of interview transcripts to Maclean’s strained Canada-U.S. relations and said it didn’t come up last week when he met with Hillary Clinton.

Kevin Newman spoke to Khadr’s lawyers, John Norris and Brydie Bethell. Norris said a court action likely pushed the decision. He said it will be up to correctional officials to decide how much contact Khadr has with his family. Bethell said Khadr’s priority is to adjust to his new life, and to complete the education program he started in Guantanamo Bay.

On the West Block, Bob Rae added that Khadr is probably both victim and possible murderer. He says the focus of parole should be rehabilitating him from the psychological traumas of 10 years in Guantanamo Bay and reintegrating him into society.

Barbara George:

The West Block had an interview with former RCMP deputy commissioner Barbara George about her contempt of Parliament charge now that former Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj has apologized for leading the charge against her. George denied she lied or mislead Parliament, but had no legal defence or cross-examination before a parliamentary committee. Since her early retirement, George has been languishing for the past five-and-a-half years, and she wants the public record cleared. She wants Parliament to review the situation and admit a mistake was made.

Tom Clark spoke to Thomas Hall, the former clerk of the Procedure and House Affairs committee, who said George was “run over with a bulldozer”  when the committee went beyond its own mandate – something happening with increasing frequency. He said committee procedures are inquisitional instead of adversarial, as in a court. He said only Parliament can change those procedures – after they adopt a resolution to rescind the finding of contempt and remove the stain from George’s record and apologize.

Clark said he asked the parties to appear on the show – the NDP refused and Conservative whip Gordon O’Connor said it was a matter between George and Wrzesnewskyj. During his appearance, Bob Rae said Parliament needs to review the case.

Sex-selection abortions:

After Rona Ambrose tweeted that her concern over sex-selection abortions was why she voted in favour of M-312, Newman spoke to Dr. Rajendra Kale about “female feticide.” Kale said statistics show a strange anomaly in which the odds of the third child in a family being born female when the first two children are already girls is too low to be natural. He noted this is a problem especially in the Indo-Canadian community. He suggested doctors delay revealing the sex of a child by ultrasound until 30 weeks, up from the current 20, at which time it will be far more difficult to obtain an abortion. Kale says regulating bodies can issue this directive, and that many Toronto hospitals are already engaging in this practice.

Gary Doer:

Kevin Newman sat down with Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the U.S., who said that Canada’s close relationship with both the U.S. and Israel means we can serve as a useful bridge. Asked about the future of the Keystone, Doer said it rests on the governor of Nebraska signing off on the amended route. Doer also denied he has any desire to return to partisan politics, as he already has his dream job.

Justin Trudeau:

Question Period discussed Justin Trudeau with a panel of Liberals. Patrick Gossage said Trudeau brings excitement and is a better politician than his father because he genuinely likes people. Ray Heard called the MP ageist and a narcissist and suggested there are too many unanswered questions about his positions. Sheila Copps said people should judge Trudeau by what he’s brought to the table – he won a tough nomination race and earned his seat in a race against a popular Bloc deputy leader.

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