Simple questions unanswered - Macleans.ca

Simple questions unanswered

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The Bloc’s Paul Crete, questioning the Foreign Affairs Minister yesterday about the status of Omar Khadr. 

Mr. Paul Crête (Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, BQ):  Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is responsible for international treaties to which Canada is a party, is refusing to demand the repatriation of Omar Khadr, the child soldier being held in Guantanamo and the only westerner still imprisoned there. Since the Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible for Canada’s signature at the bottom of the protocol on child soldiers, can he provide us with the definition of a child soldier?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  Mr. Speaker, I refuse to agree to the request submitted by the Bloc Québécois and the other two parties for the simple reason that the individual concerned has been formally accused of serious crimes. I have already said so several times here in the House. The Americans have begun the process, which we will respect, and once the process is done, we will act accordingly.

Mr. Paul Crête (Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, BQ): Mr. Speaker, all of the countries that have signed treaties regarding child soldiers are keeping their promises. All but Canada, that is. The minister has not given a straight answer, so I will ask the question again. What is his definition of a child soldier? As Canada’s representative, will he keep this country’s word?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, once again, Canada is keeping its promises, keeping its word and adhering to its treaties. Unfortunately, the member seems to be having some trouble understanding that this individual has been accused of serious crimes. He has been charged with murder and terrorism. He is in American hands, and they will take appropriate action in accordance with the review ordered by the President of the United States.