Reporter Deputy Editorial Pages Editor Kate Heartfield wrote a year-end filler piece Dec 29, 2012 bemoaning how long it had taken for Omar Khadr to be returned under the ITOA (International Transfer of Offenders Act). She had just received the result of her April 2012 Access to Information Request (8mths is not bad as I believe the standard is 6mths and this involved a 518p document involving multiple departments.) She was upset most of it was redacted. Duh! This is a sensitive national Terrorist issue involving our major military partner! Anyways – to cut to the chase – it took 2 months longer than normal (10 mths) as the request was made in Oct 2012 and Khadr arrived in Canada on Sept 29, 2012. That’s it.
However, my colleague SM wrote a excellent response that did not get published in the Letters to the Editor – so here it is:
Re: Arguments; Khadr transfer delays remain inexplicable; 2012/12/29; Kate Heartfield
Here we are with an admitted and unrepentant killer sitting in our backyard, one whose crimes should be paid for in a 40 year jail term in an American jail not here in Canada at all, and a respected leading “national” newspaper is wasting column space asking meaningless questions about why his transfer was “delayed” instead of helping us find answers to important and meaningful questions.
The first question still is why this government made this questionable and strangely unique repatriation decision in the first place? After all, we allow dozens of far less hardened and threatening killers to languish and die in foreign jails all the time. Why is it that a self-admitted killer who never disavowed his actions, continues to declare his pride in his violent acts, who has been finely tuned to a program of terrorism by an evil father and family, whose own defenders admit remains a radicalized jihadist, is so coddled by our Justice Minister? Why was Toews still misleading the public and giving interviews with journalists, talking tough, stating that the decision had not been made, and wouldn’t be made until “I get good answers to some important questions”, in the summer of 2012 when, in fact, “obviously we will approve the transfer to Canada” was a fact at least in March of 2012? Why was he playing out this phony political game and misleading Canadians?
Why did this Canadian government agree to accept such a drastically reduced sentence for Khadr’s crimes which they knew would have him wandering freely among us in a few months when we were told by several legal and medical experts that he remained radical and dangerous? Purely from a political point of view this decision is baffling. Every even remotely objective poll in this country told them most Canadians didn’t want him here and certainly a huge majority of their conservative constituency most certainly did not.
These are the important questions of this Khadr repatriation issue that the public wants and needs answered. We are forced to accept this killer in our midst and we want to know when and why and which of our political leaders should be held responsible for this cowardly decision. Instead of our media asking these pivotal and important questions people like Heartfield are given news column space so she can continue to try to milk this misguided security decision by our government for some liberal/progressive point scores on why a bad decision wasn’t made more hastily!
SM – StopKhadrEdmonton