There has been a huge outcry with the announcement of a $10.5 million payout to Omar Khadr. Khadr killed a U.S. medic in Afghanistan and was held for a decade at Guantanamo Bay, the notorious American military prison in Cuba.

The Liberals mishandled the payout, and the issue could be a major headache for the party going forward.

Maclean’s magazine ran a piece on the shady payout to Khadr. As highlighted in the piece:

Only five days into a national bedlam of opprobrium and sanctimony that began with rumours that Ottawa intended to say sorry and shell out $10.5 million to make amends for ignoring the constitutional rights of the famous Gitmo boy-terrorist Omar Khadr, and all of a sudden, the deal is already done, the cheque’s already been cut, and Khadr’s already cashed it.
That quote perfectly summarizes the problem with the case. The Khadr case has been in the public consciousness for 15 years. Khadr was first taken into custody in 2002 when he was 15 years old.
He confessed to throwing a grenade that killed U.S. medic, Christopher Speer and has since retracted his confession.

Poorly Handled

The Khadr payout is especially problematic because of the way Justin Trudeau and his government handled the payout. Laughably, Ralph Goodale tried to lay the blame on Stephen Harper’s government. As quoted in the Maclean’s piece on the payout:
Public Safety Minister Minister Ralph Goodale expended a great deal of effort on Friday to the purpose of appearing righteous and proper, and went so far as to lay blame on the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper: “The Harper government could have repatriated Mr. Khadr or otherwise resolved the matter,” Goodale said. “They didn’t.”
This quote ignores basic facts of the case. Khadr was imprisoned towards the end of Jean Chretien’s government and throughout Paul Martin’s government. In fact, Goodale was a minister in both of these administrations. So any attempt to blame the Harper government for its role int he Khadr case is truly laughable.

Question of Ethics

The ethically questionable failed Liberal candidate, and sometime political consultant, Warren Kinsella played the saddest of progressive cards when questioning the deal. Kinsella accused conservatives of racism in opposing the deal:

Conservatives are apoplectic because many of them resent dusky-skinned Muslims.

Some progressives still don’t understand that constant attacks don’t work. The knee-jerk claims of racism don’t ring true in this case. Pleading guilty to murder is pretty telling. Attacking opponents of the payout doesn’t wash away the final shadiness of the Liberals in this case.

The timing of the announcement of the payout was especially problematic. From the Maclean’s story on the payout:

After 13 years, suddenly a deal is cut, only three weeks after a faint-hope U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act injunction application to block any payout to Khadr was filed in Ontario Superior Court on behalf of Tabitha Speer, the widow of Delta Force Sergeant Christopher Speer, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2002 by a hand grenade that Khadr may or may not have thrown.

The speed of which this payout was announced is questionable. The government press release about the apology and payout doesn’t mention the amount of the payout.

The Liberals will likely face severe political blow back from this case. Part of the blow back will stem from the incredibly dubious way in which the Liberals handled the payout.


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