At $10.5 million, Omar Khadr lawsuit settlement riles some conservatives in Alberta
Khadr 'should be in prison paying for his crimes, not profiting from them,' Jason Kenney says
Alberta PC Leader Jason Kenney and some other conservative politicians are lambasting the federal government over its move to apologize to Omar Khadr and pay him a settlement of $10.5 million.
Khadr, who lives in Edmonton, is the Canadian-born man who pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. Army medic during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15 at the time.
Now 30, Khadr was captured and went on to spend 10 years in the U.S. military prison Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where some described him as a child soldier.
But his case has been troubling to many, especially after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canadian intelligence officials obtained evidence from Khadr under "oppressive circumstances," such as sleep deprivation.
That was during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay in 2003. Khadr's statements were then shared with U.S. officials.
His lawyers filed a $20-million wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against Ottawa, arguing the government violated international law by not protecting its own citizen.
CBC can now confirm there is a deal between Khadr and the government that will see Khadr receive $10.5 million.
On Twitter late Monday, Kenney described Khadr as "odious" and "a confessed terrorist who assembled and planted the same kind of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] that killed 97 Canadians."
Odious. Confessed terrorist who assembled & planted the same kind of IEDs that killed 97 Canadians to be given $10 million by Justin Trudeau <a href="https://t.co/58SA6llPya">https://t.co/58SA6llPya</a>—@jkenney
He followed up with a couple of other tweets suggesting Khadr should still be in prison.
This confessed terrorist should be in prison paying for his crimes, not profiting from them at the expense of Canadian taxpayers. <a href="https://t.co/PWx3rMahtp">https://t.co/PWx3rMahtp</a>—@jkenney
An Alberta government MLA responded directly to Kenney on Twitter, posting her disappointment in his comments.
Sherwood Park MLA Annie McKitrick said she rarely responds to Kenney's posts but felt compelled to this time.
"Mr. Kenney never sees the power of redemption, the power of forgiveness, the power of love," McKitrick said, adding the support shown to Khadr by Edmonton's King's University College was inspiring.
An English professor from King's visited Khadr while he was in detention in Guantanamo Bay, and he was later offered a place at the school on his release.
McKitrick said there was a lot more to Khadr's story that Kenney was missing.
"He was a young child, he was 15 and under the influence of his father and he served many, many years in a horrible, horrible jail that has been very well documented, the kind of abuse and torture and lack of medical facilities," she said.
What <a href="https://twitter.com/jkenney">@jkenney</a> ignores is a local Christian university extended help and friendship to Mr. Khar and modelled Christian ethics. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nothatred?src=hash">#nothatred</a> <a href="https://t.co/wWA4K48Lge">https://t.co/wWA4K48Lge</a>—@mckitrick_annie
Kenney is not the only one attacking the lawsuit settlement. Edmonton MP Kerry Diotte fired off his own opinion as well.
"I think it's quite shameful," Diotte said.
The Conservative member for Edmonton-Griesbach said he's already heard from people who are angry about Khadr receiving such a big payout.
How much of this $10 million will Khadr donate to the family of the soldier he murdered?- Derek Fildebrandt
"There are veterans out there who would love to have a small slice of that money and they're giving it to somebody who was convicted of a heinous crime," Diotte said.
Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt used Twitter to say he is "beyond disappointed with our federal government for this act of cowardice." In a separate tweet, Fildebrandt asked "how much of this $10 million will Khadr donate to the family of the soldier he murdered?"
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is in Ireland, would not confirm any details of the settlement earlier Tuesday.
Khadr's Edmonton lawyer Dennis Edney also refused comment suggesting he would only have something to say at the time the federal government makes details of any settlement public.