John Calvin is gay. He's a refugee from Palestine, who may soon be deported for being born into a family with ties to Hamas. Calvin grew up in a Muslim household that idolizes Hamas. He was indoctrinated to follow that path. Yet, he chose to abandon it.
I can understand having sympathy for Omar Khadr. I share some of that sympathy. I can understand feeling frustration at how Khadr's long and winding case has been handled, starting back in 2002. I share some of that frustration. What I can't understand are people portraying Khadr as a martyr and an innocent with a dreamy smile.
After being imprisoned for over a decade, Omar Khadr is now free on bail. In his first public appearance and media scrum, we witnessed not a mean-spirited radicalized militant, but rather, an articulate humbled young man, and in his own words, someone eager to "prove to [Canadians] that I'm more than what they thought of me."
I asked the caller whether he supported the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. He let out a menacing cackle. "Yes or no, Abdul. Do you support Hamas?", I pressed. "Yes, I do," he replied, prompting me to end the call. The fact is, I know nothing about this man. Is he a jihadi-in-training waiting to attack the West? Is he merely a Muslim Canadian with contempt for Canadian values?
One of the first orders of business for new political party leaders is the branding of their party. What will their party stand for? What will they do if elected? How will their policies help Canadian families? The Liberals and the media together have been closely watching Justin Trudeau since he became leader. They want to see what Trudeau's brand will be. So far, his biggest alignment has been with illegal activity. Not a great start.
News that four former Guantanamo detainees have filed a complaint against Canada with the UN Committee Against Torture for the Canadian government's failure to arrest George W. Bush has caused quite a tempest in our teapot. Evidence of Bush's involvement in authorizing war crimes and torture goes far beyond the reasonable grounds necessary for law enforcement.
The recent repatriation of Omar Khadr has demonstrated yet again that serious concerns remain about Canada's approach when its citizens are detained abroad. The rights of too many Canadians have been or continue to be violated in foreign countries, and Canadian governments have regrettably been inconsistent defenders of those rights. The Conservative record on Canadians detained abroad is deeply troubling, and it constitutes the aggravation of a problem that has existed for too long, under Liberal governments as well.
The United States Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit released its decision Tuesday in the case of Hamdan v. United States, overturning Hamdan's conviction by the Guantanamo military commission. But what does the decision mean?
It's taken weeks -- no, years -- of frustrated waiting, but the other day anxious Canadians finally got an answer: he's in. Lefties have been swooning and right-wingers have been fuming, but the young dude with the famous name and rock-star reputation is now officially set for the long-haul. Now if only we knew what he actually believed. We're talking, of course, about Omar Khadr.
The arrival of Omar Khadr on Canadian soil was long overdue. It is the right thing to do and justice has finally been served. This saga has put our values and principles to the test. These people who are upset to see the government's move to bring him back to Canada should learn to accept the reality of our system. The system should be applied the same to everyone whether the person in question is someone we like or not. Learning from the Omar Khadr saga, I am fearful and uneasy. In spite of been granted citizenship, I feel that I am somehow judged as someone else -- perhaps a second class citizen. Perhaps there should be first class, second class and even third class Canadian citizenship. At least we would know who we really are and each person would know what to expect.
Canada announced that it has cut ties with the governments of Iran and Syria, shutting down its embassy in Tehran and expelling diplomats from Canada. But Canada is notorious on the human rights of its Middle Eastern immigrants.
Now 25, the full beard Omar Khadr has grown since his imprisonment in 2002 obscures the fact that he was only 15 when he was shot and captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Now there are psychiatric reports that supposedly claim Omar Khadr more dangerous than ever, surrounded and influenced in Gitmo by committed Islamic terrorists. His return to Canada is on hold because Public Safety Minister Vic Toews wants to consider the contents of these reports. The longer they procrastinate, the more sympathy Khadr gains.
A request for additional information by Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews last week has created doubt as to whether Canada wants Khadr back. Some Canadian observers have suggested that a bilateral row over Khadr is brewing and could generate a full-blown crisis in the U.S.-Canadian relationship.
The U.S. has now agreed to transfer Omar Khadr to a Canadian prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. By law, the Canadian government should not obstruct his transfer to a Canadian prison. Here is why we believe it is time to repatriate Omar Khadr ASAP.
The UN Committee Against Torture recently recommended that Omar Khadr receive redress for any human rights violations he may have experienced during his imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay -- $10-million worth. Should Canadian taxpayers pay millions of dollars to a person who left Canada to join al-Qaeda and fight coalition forces in Afghanistan? Why does a convicted terrorist deserve millions of dollars, while terror victims languish?