Omar Khadr is back in Canada


From Ezra Levant to Romeo Dallaire, the debate over the fate of Omar Khadr has raged for a decade. And now he is here on Canadian soil, in a Canadian prison and under Canadian law. We ask about the wider meaning and symbolism around the case of Omar Khadr and what it says about Canadians just over a decade into a post 9/11 world.

Omar Khadr is back in Canada - Lawyer John Norris

We played a clip of the Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, Saturday as he confirmed the Harper government's acceptance of Omar Khadr into the Canadian prison system. The 26 year old was transferred from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba to the Millhaven maximum security prison in Eastern Ontario early Saturday morning.

Omar Khadr was the youngest, and the last Western detainee at Gitmo and also the subject of legal wrangling between the U.S. (which wanted him transferred) and the Harper government (which fought a Canadian court order to bring the Canadian citizen here to serve his sentence.)

If you check Twitter, the website of any news organization, or just the chatter in your own neighbourhood, you'll know that Omar Khadr is a polarizing figure. We ask what he symbolizes for Canada and what his return means to Canadians. But first, John Norris is one of Omar Khadr's Canadian lawyers.

Omar Khadr is back in Canada - Panel

As we mentioned, reaction to Omar Khadr's repatriation has been pouring in, and Canadians appear sharply divided about how they feel. Some say that as a convicted terrorist Omar Khadr is no longer welcome in the country of his birth.

Others say his return is long overdue and a step forward in achieving justice for the former child soldier, who was attacked and nearly killed by American forces in a war many people saw as unjustified.

One thing is clear: Omar Khadr is one of Canada's biggest symbols of the post-9/11 world. And many Canadians see the moment of his return to this country as a significant one.

To discuss this, we heard from Paul Champ, a human rights lawyer with Champ and Associates. He was in our Ottawa studio. And Tasha Kheiriddin is a columnist at the National Post. She was in Whitby, Ontario.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Pacinthe Mattar.

For more on our Omar Khadr coverage, here are some segments from our archives. 

Other segments from today's show:

Comments are closed.