No Canadian court would hold that Omar Khadr threw the grenade

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, for the Canadian parents of Kevin, there is nothing one can say to ease their pain and their loss. However, I think we do ourselves a disservice to direct that anger to the settlement with Omar Khadr.

I do not think I have heard any other member of Parliament talk about this in this place, but I know this due to the reporting work of Sandy Garossino for the National Observer, which published photos taken by the U.S. military. This was, of course, an exchange between combatants and not conventionally what anyone would describe as terrorism. They were combatants, and there is no question that Omar Khadr was taken by his father into a war zone. We can say anything we want about how unbearably unacceptable what his father did to him was, but he was taken into that zone. There is no good evidence that would stand up in a Canadian court that Omar Khadr threw the grenade, and I think there is a very large chance that he did not. The photos in the piece in the National Observer show him under mountains of rubble at the moment that grenade was thrown.

Therefore, I think we have a very large reason to doubt that his confession during sleep deprivation was for something he actually did. Quite possibly it was for something he did not do, for which he was not getting the help of his government when he was in a foreign prison and being tortured.

There are many layers to this, and I wonder if my hon. friend for Barrie—Innisfil would feel differently about what he said if he thought for a moment that it was quite possible that the person described in this motion as a convicted terrorist was in fact convicted in a military court for something he did not do.

John Brassard – Barrie-Innisfil

Madam Speaker, I think the hon. member raises an important point here.

There is no question that the courts found that Omar Khadr’s rights had been violated. The issue we are talking about with respect to this particular payment was the fact that Omar Khadr had filed a civil suit against the government, but the government did not allow that civil suit to play out to its final verdict. In my opinion, the government rolled over and gave Omar Khadr a settlement, which he could potentially have not been worthy of had it gone through the entire process of the civil court.

I think the Liberal government did a disservice to Canadians by doing this and certainly opened the door for other cases, as we have seen, subsequent to the Omar Khadr case.