Justin Trudeau says anger over Omar Khadr case will ensure it never happens again
Trudeau made the comments in question period on Wednesday, saying the outrage at the settlement will help ensure a situation like Khadr’s will never happen again.
Khadr was held at Guantanamo after his 2002 capture in Afghanistan, where he was a child soldier. He was charged with throwing the grenade that killed U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Speer in 2002, when Khadr was 15. He pleaded guilty to murder but later recanted and said he was coerced into making the plea.
WATCH: Ongoing coverage of Omar Khadr settlement
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that Khadr’s Charter rights were violated, and Khadr filed a $20-million lawsuit against the government. In July, news broke that the government was paying Khadr $10.5-million dollars in a settlement.
In question period Wednesday, Tory MP Peter Kent of Thornhill was questioning Trudeau and the Liberal’s motives for their proposed tax changes; he said the changes would help the Grits use “hard-earned tax dollars [to try] to cover up political problems” like the Khadr settlement.
“I understand the member opposite’s outrage at the Omar Khadr settlement, I understand Canadian’s outrage, I understand how angry I am that we had to settle that,” Trudeau responded passionately.
“The fact is that we should all be outraged, and remain outraged that a Canadian government violated a Canadian’s fundamental rights.”
He also added that being angry about paying out this money will help ensure that Canada will think twice before violating Charter Rights again.
“If we stay angry enough for long enough, maybe no future government will ever violate a Canadian’s rights that way again,” Trudeau continued.
In the past, Trudeau has defended the settlement, saying fighting the lawsuit would cost taxpayers more. While he has said he had concerns about the money, he hadn’t said he disagrees with the decision to settle the lawsuit.
The Khadr case has divided Canadians for years over questions like whether Khadr was really a child soldier, or whether or not his confession was coerced.
Khadr is currently out on bail, pending the appeal of his conviction.
— With files from The Canadian Press
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly left out the last name the MP who questioned Trudeau, calling him Peter Thornhill. In fact Peter Kent is MP of the Thornhill riding. Global News regrets the error.
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