Sunday, October 31, 2010


Of course it speaks poorly of the Cons that they've been misleading Canadians about their participation in Omar Khadr's plea agreement. But the more substantial issue looks to me to involve how little they can be trusted in the future.

Here's the background to the plea deal:
"On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, the Department of State brings to the attention of the Government of Canada Mr. Khadr's agreement to plead guilty to all charges against him," the note said.

"The plea agreement includes various undertakings and conditions, including that duly authorized officials of the United States and Canada exchange diplomatic notes reflecting United States and Canadian Government support for [his] transfer to Canada to serve the remainder of [his] approved sentence after completing no less than one additional year in United States custody … "
In response, the Canadian Embassy conveyed in a note that Canada acknowledged receipt of the State Department's note, that it took note of Khadr's deal to plead guilty to all charges against him and that it shared the U.S.'s view that were Khadr to request a transfer to Canada, such a transfer could be made under the Treaty between Canada and the United States on the Execution of Penal Sentences.

"The Government of Canada is inclined to favourably consider Mr. Khadr's application to be transferred to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence or such portion of the remainder of his sentence as the national Parole Board determines …."
Which looks to me to raise the question of whether the diplomatic notes are actually seen as remotely binding - or whether they'll simply be ignored as much as Khadr's rights as a Canadian citizen have been during his entire stay in Guantanamo. And if the Cons are in a position to change their mind about "favourably considering" Khadr's application once it's officially made, then it's possible that Canada's negligence and embarrassment in dealing with its nationals abroad may be far from over.

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