TORONTO: Over 71 percent Canadians say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to pay $10.5 million and apologize to former child soldier Omar Khadr is wrong.
Khadr, 35 now, who killed an American soldier in Afghanistan in 2002 and was later incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, sought damages for his wrongful confiement and mistreatment at Guantanamo.
According to a survey by the Angus Reid Institute, more than seven-in-ten (71%) Canadians say the Trudeau government should never have given the compensation to Omar Khadr. They say the government should have fought the case and left it to the courts to decide whether Omar Khadr was wrongfully imprisoned.
Two-thirds (65 percent) Canadians also reject the Liberal government’s argument that it had “no choice” but to pay Khadr.
Only 29 percent Canadians agreed with the Liberal government’s decision.
Over 64 percent Canadians think that Khadr still remains a “potential radicalized threat” for the country.
Asked whether Khadr was treated fairly or unfairly, 42 percent Canadians said they are unsure and 34 percent said he got a fair treatment.
Only 24 percent said Khadr was treated unfairly. Even as the Liberals have defended the decision, the Conservatives are leaving stones unturned to corner Prime Minister Trudeau.
“Make no mistake. This settlement is a choice made by Justin Trudeau,’’ said Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Accusing Trudeau of `hiding it from Canadians’, Scheer said, “Canadians are shocked by Justin Trudeau’s decision to give a $10.5 million dollar secret payout to the terrorist who killed US Army Sergeant Christopher Speer in Afghanistan.”
Scheer said the Liberals secretly rushed to make this payment so that Tabitha Speer, the widow of Sergeant Christopher Speer, would have no opportunity to have her claim heard. “Showing such contempt to a widow of a war hero who lost his life saving the lives of others on the battlefild is not just wrong…it’s disgusting.
This shows such a meanspirited attitude towards the true victims in this whole ordeal,’’ the Conservative leader said. Accusing Trudeau of dodging accountability to Canadians, Scheer said, “He (Trudeau) had multiple opportunities to explain his choice in this matter. But he refused to explain himself…Justin Trudeau should have never agreed to a secret deal that gave a convicted terrorist millions of dollars.
“Let’s be clear about one crucial point: The remedy to the issues that the Supreme Court ruled upon, was the repatriation of Khadr back to Canada. That was the settlement that Khadr received. “Seeking money from the Canadian taxpayer is just a sign of continuing contempt for the country that Khadr has fought against.’’