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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The final word By Heather Hubbard Cooper

Some information on the Supreme Court of Canada and some personal opinions as a result of researching. Sorry for the length but time to put this matter to rest. 
The Supreme Court of Canada is the final authority on the interpretation of the entire body of Canadian law: federal constitutional law, provincial constitutional law, federal statutes, provincial statutes, federal common law, provincial common law, and (in appeals from the province of Quebec) provincial civil law. It is the final arbiter of law in a court system 
As the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court plays a central role in the state and evolution of Canadian judicial interpretation and analysis. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Khadr three times after his lawyers took the case to court, and in 2010 it unequivocally stated that Canadian officials had violated Khadr’s human rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that his treatment “offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.” The decision was made by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is made up of 9 members, which includes the Chief Justice, who was appointed jointly by Mulroney, (Conservative) and Chretien, (Liberal) 1 member by Paul Martin, (Liberal) 6 members by Stephen Harper, (Conservative) and 1 member by Justin Trudeau (Liberal). Other than the Chief Justice, that is 6 Conservative appointees and 2 Liberal appointees. 
The Supreme Court made the decision and even the Government of Canada must abide by that decision. They were sued. Khadr filed civil suits with the Supreme Court of Canada, and that court found in favour of Khadr, in that the Canadian Government was in breach of Canadian and International law. Over half the money awarded will be going toward legal fees. The Canadian Government negotiated the amount of $10.5 million from the amount first requested of $20 million. The $10.5 million was made to finally bring this matter to a close. Under the previous Governments so much more money, (tens of million of dollars) had already been spent on this same issue. It was time to bring this to an end and stop spending more money, on something the Government was never going to win. It was not done under a veil of secrecy, our leader was at a world summit meeting, the decision was made to bring this matter to a close. There would have been backlash no matter when it was announced nor where our Prime Minister happened to be. I would rather see $10.5 million spent now than see another, in excess of $150 million spent and the matter still not be resolved. 
It was not the Liberal Government and Justin Trudeau that made the decision but again, it was the Supreme Court of Canada. I find it deplorable, but I am not surprised, with the recent comments from Conservative members, Mr. Scheer and Mr. Harper, with their play on words and false innuendos. It’s opportunistic to turn around now, as Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer did, and call the settlement “a slap in the face to the men and women in uniform. 
They show no shame in using the heroic efforts of our veterans for their own use. It was a blatant attempt to discredit the Liberal party and Justin Trudeau and intentionally mislead and insult the intelligence of the public. Unfortunately, there are some that will fall for and believe their comments. This is a prime example of dirty politics, hopefully people will see through this. Shame on you both Andrew Scheer and Stephen Harper. You have made it an even harder climb up to being a class act than it was previously for the Conservative Party.
You may or may not like the ruling, and this is your choice. We all have politicians we do not agree with, nor approve of, but to malign our Prime Ministers with vulgar comments and references to various body parts, insects, and terrorist comments, is ignorant and rude and simply shows the lack of knowledge of our judicial system, and our Charter of Rights. It also demonstrates the lack of knowledge of how to research facts, and an absence of good manners, including a very limited written and verbal vocabulary. We try to teach our children better, obviously this area is missing in the upbringing of some. Show some class, we, as Canadians, are better than this. If you do not like or approve of Mr. Trudeau, use your right to vote in the next election. The decision has been made, it is time to stop embarrassing yourselves.
After taking the time to read extensive reports, and learning of witness statements and facts, which are readily available if one takes the time to research. I do not feel that Khadr was guilty of throwing the grenade causing the death of an American or the injury of another. This is a personal opinion. 
Sandy Garossino, a former Crown prosecutor and prominent media commentator asks some legit questions and observations as follows: 
What if Khadr was innocent of the murder of Sgt. Christopher Speer this whole time, and we didn't lift a finger while he sat in a hell-hole for a decade? For almost 15 years, Canadian treatment of the Khadr case has been dominated by the presumption of guilt. Yet the evidence tells a different story. For all the fury boiling up over news of his settlement, there's precious little insight or knowledge about the facts. Without Khadr's confession, obtained essentially by force, there is no compelling evidence that he threw any grenade at all. No one saw him do it, and from all appearances he'd been under that rubble and wounded the entire time. Khadr was the only survivor and therefore got the blame. There are documented witness statements, (American Servicemen and squadron commanders at the scene) testified that Khadr was a victim who could not have possibly thrown the grenade and that the grenade was thrown by a much older person. There are also statements that the injuries of the two American servicemen were a result of “friendly fire”. 
As is well known today, false confessions are common, especially with malleable young people under duress. The intensity and abusiveness of Khadr's interrogation is unprecedented in law-abiding countries. It's probably fair to say that in 2002 the U.S. military was far more concerned with learning whatever it could about Al Qaeda from Khadr than with getting an admissible voluntary statement for a criminal trial. The priority was to find and kill Osama bin Laden, and to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
That interrogators went too far is now common knowledge. But the problem with torturous or abusive questioning isn't just that it violates the prisoner's rights, but that subjects will give false information to escape the agony. I am sure that the majority of people would confess to and sign a document admitting to horrendous acts just to escape the torture that Khadr was subjected to over such a long time. Khadr's guilty plea bought his freedom, but at a heavy price. For that freedom Khadr traded, perhaps forever, the chance to clear his name and turn public scrutiny on those who abused him, who doctored records, who changed their stories.
As part of his plea deal, Khadr agreed to a statement of facts admitting to killing Sgt. Speer, and promised never to seek forensic review of the evidence which might one day prove his innocence. He also agreed to permit the U.S. government to destroy all evidence following sentencing. This was not the first time and nor will it be the last that the US government falsified documents to suit their purposes.
This was a 9-year-old child whisked away from the land of his birth by a tyrant of a father and as is their custom, obeying your father is demanded or suffer severe consequences, no matter what the father ordered. No one is disputing the fact that he was at the battle site, but was he a willing participant, a terrorist, I think not. Penalties for disobeying are harsh. When the dust settled, he was the only enemy survivor, but he was found wounded and buried under ruble when the explosion went off. Time to put this matter to rest, be grateful that it will not cost the Canadian Government more money due to the foresight shown by our present Government. Many have claimed that he was a terrorist and terrorists should not be rewarded. Another scenario, if one was held under threat of death or injury, to assist in a crime, would that person be as guilty as the one that committed and masterminded the crime? Omar Khadr was a victim as a young child and was a victim as a result of false accusations and remains a victim due to those who do not understand the law.

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