Khadr Clock – July 27th, 2010
Unfortunately, late last week, the Federal Court of Appeal sided with the Government in their appeal of Justice Zinn’s orders to produce a list of remedies for violating Khadr’s constitutional rights.
Federal Court of Appeal Judge Pierre Blais’ made the ruling suggesting that Justice Zinn did not have the power to order the Government to ‘impose a remedy,’ to bring Khadr home. Blais said that Zinn’s orders would have required the judiciary to get involved in the foreign affairs of our Government - something which was improper for the institution to do. If Ottawa was forced to intercede in the matter of Khadr, it could cause irreparable harm he further ruled.
The Globe and Mail writes that presently, “Mr. Khadrs legal team [are] wondering whether its worth pursuing an appeal given how quickly [Khadr’s] trial is approaching.” Nate Whitling – one of Khadrs Canadian lawyers – has said that they asked for an expedited hearing on the appeal and were told that it wouldn’t happen prior to Khadr’s Guantanamo trial scheduled for next month. As such, his counsel doesn’t know if they will pursue this matter as it is “kind of a done deal.”
This latest development is a further unexpected impediment to the repatriation of Khadr back to Canada. With Justice Zinns orders, I saw a light of hope in a dark matter. However, the Governments appeal of that order and now the Federal Court of Appeals siding with the Government, has diminished part of this light.
I personally believe that the Court produced the wrong decision. It seems that the Court was more focused on the role of the judiciary in Governmental matters, than with protecting Khadr.
The argument that the Court made – ‘that the judiciary should not get involved in matters of foreign affairs’ – is one that has been used before when it comes to Khadr. However, I don’t see any weight in it. The purpose of the judiciary (in all its forms) is to make sure the law is followed by all entities and punish those that do not do so. The Federal Government should clearly be one of said entities. They shouldn’t be allowed to be some exception that is allowed to do what they want without being bound by rules and regulations because of what they are. If anything, they should be more accountable to follow the laws of our country and more susceptible to punishment if they don’t. Unfortunately, in the case of Omar Khadr, they for much too long have not been following the law.
At this point, with no other barriers for him, Khadr is ready to begin his trial next month at Guantanamo Bay.
However, we must not give up. We must still continue with our work to bring Khadr back home. It is the Governments fundamental responsibility to protect all its citizens and offer them proper avenues of justice. If we don’t remind the Government of this, who will?
This week, I want to change our call of action from a letter to a phone call to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister Office has a phone number set up (613-992-4211), where individuals like yourself can call to voice any concern you have. Usually, an operator will pick up and ask you how to direct your call. At this point you can ask to leave a message for the PM and she will transfer you to a voicemail.
Please call and ask PM Harper to repatriate Omar Khadr back home immediately. He belongs in Canada, not at Guantanamo Bay. Feel free to add anything else, but remember to be polite and proper.
Ultimately, if enough voices speak, PM Harper will be bound to hear and hopefully, act.