"The previous [Liberal] government took a whole range... all of the information into account when they made the decision on how to proceed with the Khadr case several years ago," he said.
Around about the time I heard this little bit of deflection on the radio, I got quite angry. First of all, the situation when Khadr was captured is quite different from the situation today. Given the petulant, immature behaviour that George W. Bush has shown in office, I'm pretty sure he would have simply ignored any lobbying from the Chretien or Martin governments purely on the basis that they weren't right wing enough for Dubya.
The second point is that in the intervening years, we also have the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay - and it isn't pretty. So, when Harper tries to pin this all on the Liberals, he's full of it. His government is in power today, and his government carries the obligation to review and act upon the situation intelligently.
And then there's the bit that Harper doesn't want to talk about:
In an interview, Gar Pardy, the now retired head of consular programs for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said that in 2002-03 “we were fighting for Omar [Khadr],” whom he regarded as too young for Guantanamo.
“I wanted to use his age as the largest club we had to beat up the Americans on,” Mr. Pardy said. But he added that Canadian initiatives to protect the prisoner's rights got lost among departments and officials with competing priorities.
So, let me get this straight - Canada's government in fact did take steps to intervene on Omar Khadr's behalf ... but that was BEFORE PMSH. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened - and I think we can guess why - the reason sits in the Whitehouse.
Make no mistake, I certainly do not approve of the actions of Omar Khadr's father, whether his apparently active participation in paramilitary activity in Afghanistan or the fact he took his then young son with him into that situation. However, when it comes down to it, what Omar Khadr is accused of doing happened in a combat zone, and at a time when he was the ripe old age of fifteen. Adults aren't terribly rational in a firefight, what in heck makes anyone think a fifteen year old male is going to be? (Hello, hormones anyone?)
Omar Khadr should have been in a Toronto high school at the time - discovering girls and preparing for his future. If anyone is to be held responsible for what happened in Afghanistan it is his father who took him there, not Omar Khadr.
PMSH is being a petty, petulant ideologue in this matter - and he is trying to make his own government's failings someone else's fault. I haven't seen such immature and stupid behaviour since I was in junior high.