Roundup: Principle over circumstance

After a weekend of yet more wailing and gnashing of teeth about the Omar Khadr settlement, and despite detailed explanations from the ministers of justice and public safety, and Justin Trudeau reminding everyone that this is not about the individual circumstances of Khadr himself but rather the price of successive governments who have ignored the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we’re still seeing a number of disingenuous talking points and facile legal analysis from players who know better. Here is some of the better commentary from the weekend.

A number of people over social media have insisted that treatment of Khadr, including the “frequent flier” sleep deprivation technique used to “soften him up” before CSIS agents arrived to question him, or the fact that he was strung up for hours to the point of urinating himself (and then used as a human mop to wipe it up) or being threatened with gang rape didn’t constitute torture.

There was some particularly petulant legal analysis from former Conservative cabinet ministers that got pushback.

And of course, the broader principle remains.

Good reads:

  • From the G20, Justin Trudeau announced that the bulk of CETA will come into force on September 21st.
  • Also, Trudeau admitted that they knew they were going to have to go around the Trumpocalypse on the environment.
  • Here is a look at why the government’s plans to delay the Estimates dates to better match the budget won’t fix the mismatch problem, but a fixed budget date might.
  • Military procurement officials hope they have their troubles behind them (but until procurement is no longer a regional job creation program, I’m not so sure).
  • Adam Radwanski notes that despite Scheer now being at the helm, the Conservative Party very much remains Stephen Harper’s party.
  • Bessma Momani offers a chilling look at where elected populism is headed, where traditional media is being shut down by governments for offering analysis.

3 thoughts on “Roundup: Principle over circumstance

  1. Had there simply been an apology, I doubt the public outcry would have been as great or as angry. Indeed, much of the anger is because the settlement is being thought of in the same vein as some major wasteful project. It’s the “millions” that nudged it into that corner. Had the announcement been of an apology and subsidizing his post-secondary education in an effort to re-integrate him into Canadian society better, the reaction might have been a bit different. Not a LOT, but a bit.

    Of course the terms of the settlement will not be made public, which only allows the public to think, and sincerely believe, that Mr. Khadr has somehow won a 6/49 and will be vacationing in the nicer parts of Cuba at this very moment, while he awaits delivery of his Lamborghini to his new downtown condo back in Toronto.

    If an itemized list of expenses and debts accrued by all those who assisted in his release was made public, I imagine the anger would subside a bit. Still, I have seen posts from those who conceive of Dennis Edney as an “ambulance chaser”, in the same basket as all those TV-advertising lawyers who win huge settlements state-side and promise “I only get paid when you get paid”.

    Memo to aspiring lawyers and law students: if you want to get rich, avoid pro bono human rights cases involving bad or embarrassing government decisions about child soldiers.

  2. I believe that there is another aspect to what I think is substantial public anger at the settlement, and that is that there was “negotiation” with someone whom people strongly believe to have been a terrorist. Had a court awarded Mr. Khadr 10 million or even more, reaction might have been less pronounced and less visceral.

    In other words, an “award” might have been better received than a “settlement”.

    I suspect it won’t be long before someone notes the apparent disconnect between Mr. Trudeau’s desire not to pay ransoms to kidnappers and the Khadr settlement.

    • Such a link would be utterly specious, given that the government didn’t violate the Charter rights of kidnappers.

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