POLITICS

Michelle Rempel Tells Fox News Viewers Khadr Settlement 'Not A Partisan Political Issue'

She then plugged a fundraising campaign by The Rebel.

07/18/2017 14:00 EDT | Updated 07/19/2017 12:21 EDT
Fox News screengrab

A Conservative MP appeared on Fox News to tell American viewers that Omar Khadr's $10.5-million settlement is "not a partisan political issue" — and then proceeded to plug a fundraising campaign launched by The Rebel.

In a segment titled "Terrorist Payday" on Monday, Michelle Rempel referred to a recent Angus Reid Institute poll that suggests 71 per cent of Canadians don't agree with the government's decision to settle.

"I want you to know that most Canadians are absolutely outraged about this," the Calgary Nose Hill MP told host Tucker Carlson.

"It doesn't seem just," Tucker said. "I mean, there probably are a lot of people in Canada, including some who've been mistreated legitimately by the Canadian government that could use $10.5 million."

Rempel did not clarify the point of the Khadr settlement was to pre-empt the Canadian government from paying upwards of $40 million in a case it would have "inevitably" lost, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Tory MP to U.S. viewers: 'There was no court ruling'

In 2002, Khadr was captured by U.S. troops in Afghanistan after a firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound. At 15, he became the youngest inmate at Guantanamo Bay.

Khadr's detention without trial was used as an opportunity for CSIS interrogators to elicit information to justify his illegal detainment in a prison system that violated international law.

Center for Constitutional Rights/Reuters
Omar Khadr, seen in this undated photo, was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan.

After being subject to years of unlawful interrogation tactics used by a now-discredited military commission, the Toronto-born Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes in 2010.

Rempel told Fox viewers, "There was no court ruling. This was something the government decided."

In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the government breached the Canadian-born Khadr's charter rights. Former governments under Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Stephen Harper did not actively seek reparation for Khadr — who became Guantanamo's last Western detainee.

Khadr was returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the remainder of his sentence and released from custody the following year. The Supreme Court of Canada has reviewed his case three times.

It is not about the battlefield in Afghanistan. It is about the acts or the omissions of the Canadian government after Mr. Khadr was captured and detained.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale

When the federal government confirmed the settlement earlier this month, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said it was not related to Khadr's actions in the firefight that killed U.S. special forces soldier Christopher Speer.

"It is not about the battlefield in Afghanistan. It is about the acts or the omissions of the Canadian government after Mr. Khadr was captured and detained," Goodale said.

Fox News screengrab
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel appears on Fox News to talk about the Canadian government's $10.5-million settlement with former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr.

During Rempel's Fox News appearance, the Tory MP mentioned how Canadians are donating money to a fundraising campaign to support Speer's children and widow.

She plugged "Speerkids.ca" which redirects to an IndieGoGo fundraising page started by The Rebel, a conservative news site often accused of fanning right-wing extremist voices in Canada.

"And what you have to understand too that this is not like a partisan political issue," Rempel said. "This is something that people who actually voted for this government are going, 'I'm not comfortable with this.'

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer as well as Harper have reached out to Speer's widow in the wake of the Khadr settlement. The issue has become a lightning-rod debate over terrorism stateside.

On a different Fox News segment, former Republican presidential nomination candidate Herman Cain summarized the settlement as "Canada basically rewarded a murderer."

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On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published a fiery op-ed by Conservative MP Peter Kent, eviscerating the Trudeau government over the decision to settle.

Rempel said it's important to think about Speer's widow Tabitha.

"I can't imagine being her right now and listening to all of this coverage and having to have those wounds reopened," she said.