Dewar v. Cannon - Macleans.ca

Dewar v. Cannon

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Kady referenced this yesterday in her report from the Foreign Affairs committee yesterday, but here is the full exchange between Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and the NDP’s Paul Dewar on what this government has or has not considered in regards to Omar Khadr.

There is also an exchange between Cannon and the Bloc’s Paul Crete on Khadr, but I’m going to wait for a full English translation before posting.

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Thank you, Chair and I want to thank the Minister and our guests for being here today, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Hirst. I want to start off and I too will go to a number of different files. As you can appreciate, there’s a lot to talk about. I’ll perhaps pick up where one of my colleagues left off with regard to Mr. Khadr.

We know that at some point our government has to do something and to date we’ve had our government simply say well, you know. We know the line, my friend, the parliamentary secretary’s read the line well, but I think at some point Canadians want to know when the time comes, because it’s coming, Minister, where you’re going to have to do something other than say we’re waiting for the exercise to finish in the United States. I want to start off with asking have your officials or any department officials explored the options for repatriating Mr. Khadr?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon: No.

Mr. Paul Dewar: So you haven’t. So you expect no money, for instance, from legal fees to examine the case?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon: Do you want to be a little more specific?

Mr. Paul Dewar: Have you spent any money on the legal case of Mr. Khadr? Have you had anyone look at it?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon: No.

Mr. Paul Dewar: So no one’s looked at the case. No one’s given you a legal opinion on it. Maybe Mr. Edwards could help us here. So no one’s looked at the legal case of….I can’t put it any plainer, has anyone in the department looked at the legal case of Mr. Khadr, yes or no?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon: Well, let’s be specific here. If you’re saying we looked at the legal case to determine what or to have a general idea of what the American policy is, yes, we looked at the American policy. Yes, we are cognizant of the fact that the trial of all cases in front of the military commission has been halted at Guantanamo since January 20 of this year.

We’re aware, of course, that the U.S. administration has ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay. So if you’re asking me if we looked at that, yes, we have.

Mr. Paul Dewar: But beyond that, nothing in terms of what might happen or scenarios about the future? Interesting. I say interesting, because I think that would be something I would do is to say okay, what happens if, but that’s just me.

When I look at this, we have a case where we have the Americans very clearly sending a message to us, we’re closing the shop….We have actually legal representation in the room who has suggested that Mr. Kuebler ….Well, let me try this one with you, Minister.

We often talk about Canada believes in the rule of law, right? We export that principle, that value. In your opinion, officials, when we talk about the rule of law, would you suggest that’s having fair representation?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon: If we’re going to discuss the issue of Guantanamo, that’s a complete–

Mr. Paul Dewar: Well, actually, I’m trying about a case of the rule of law–

The Chair: Keep this back and forth through the Chair, please.

Mr. Paul Dewar: Through you, Chair, to the–

Hon. Lawrence Cannon: Okay, through the Chair.

Chair, what we won’t speculate on is hypothetical scenarios. Yes, Canada does promote the rule of law and I think that with like-minded countries we do that. But again, Mr. Dewar, I have to point out that there is a process that is in place. We’re following that process. We’re following it with interest and once the outcome has been determined, we will develop a position and we will make that position known.