POLITICS

Andrew Scheer Says Tory MPs Attacking Trudeau On U.S. Media Won't Hurt NAFTA Talks

"The responsibility for any of the negative outcomes of the Omar Khadr payout lies with the Liberals."

07/20/2017 16:13 EDT | Updated 07/20/2017 18:21 EDT
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer holds a media availability in the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on July 20, 2017.

Andrew Scheer sees nothing wrong with Conservative MPs who make appearances on U.S. cable networks — such as Fox News — to rail against the Liberal government over the Omar Khadr settlement.

The Conservative party leader shared his stance Thursday after unveiling his "gender diverse" leadership team, notably with former leadership rival Lisa Raitt standing next to him as deputy leader.

"They're all people of conviction and of principle. And they represent the positive Conservative vision we want to share with all Canadians," Scheer said at a news conference in the National Press Theatre in Ottawa.

Scheer was then asked if he was concerned his party's campaign against the government's decision to pay Khadr a reported $10.5-million sum would create a backlash — especially before the upcoming NAFTA negotiations between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

"The responsibility for any of the negative outcomes of the Omar Khadr payout lies with the Liberals," the Conservative leader said.

Scheer said it's only Liberals who are criticizing the party for taking its message south of the border.

"It's not credible to think that somehow the news and commentary in Canada stops at the U.S. border. I don't know that anybody actually believes that," he defended. "I think Conservatives will continue to criticize this decision and refute the errors the Liberals are putting out."

Tory MP goes on Fox News

On Monday, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel appeared on Fox News to reiterate the message that a majority of Canadians disagree with the Liberal government's decision to pay $10.5 million to a former Guantanamo Bay inmate.

"I want you to know that most Canadians are absolutely outraged about this," Rempel said before telling host Tucker Carlson the controversy is not a partisan issue at home.

Fox News screengrab
Calgary MP Michelle Rempel appears on the Fox News program "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on July 17.

The Calgary Nose Hill member then mentioned a fundraising campaign launched by conservative news site, The Rebel, to raise money for the widow of U.S. soldier Christopher Speer, killed in the same firefight in which Khadr was wounded and captured.

Scheer criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for failing to reach out to Speer's widow ahead of the Khadr settlement announcement earlier this month.

He called the prime minister's approach "cold-hearted."

Tory leader: Show her the money

Khadr apologized to Speer's widow in 2010 during a controversial U.S. military commission. He admitted to throwing the grenade that killed Speer following an al-Qaida firefight in 2002 when he was 15.

"I'm really really sorry for the pain I've caused you and your family. I wish I could do something that would take this pain away from you. This is all I can say," he said at the time from a Guantanamo Bay witness box.

Scheer urged Khadr to match his actions to his words.

"If he is truly remorseful for his actions that he is admitted to doing, he would pay every single cent of that settlement to Tabitha Speer so that she can provide for her two children who now live without a father," he said.

The former Guantanamo inmate said later he only pleaded guilty to get out of the notorious prison.