Duelling absurdities - Macleans.ca

Duelling absurdities

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Rob Silver considers the federal court’s decision.

The distinction, in my opinion, is far from trivial, and has potentially troubling consequences going forward. While lawyers may argue that the Khadr case has a unique fact scenario (the fact that Canadian agents were part of interviews where torture was believed to be used is an important factor in this decision), the precedent is now set and it is easy to envision fact scenarios such as the one I set out above expanding this precedent. Courts could be forced to decide whether they are the body that now sets Canadian foreign policy whenever the rights of Canadians are impacted – a swath of potential issues from intervening in wars to not signing international treaties to, well, just about any international issue in which the rights of a single Canadian are affected. 

Kate Heartfield tries to make sense of the government’s position.

If there’s any logic to the Conservative pull-my-string response of “Mr. Khadr faces serious crimes” (a big if) then the logic, given the court’s decision, is this: A person charged with a crime does not have human rights. If that’s not the logic, how is it relevant that Khadr “faces very serious charges”? What does that have to do with his rights and his treatment, which is the issue at hand?