A group of high school students chanted slogans, sang songs and waved angry placards in front of the U.S. consulate Monday as they urged U.S. officials to send terror suspect Omar Khadr back across the border to face justice in Canada.High schoolers standing up for the rule of law...this is the kind of stuff that does a heart good. And of course, puts the Harper government to shame.
The group of about 40 students from St. Mary's Secondary School in Cobourg, Ont., an hour's drive east of Toronto, is arguing that Khadr, 21, was a child soldier when he was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan six years ago.
They want him freed from the controversial military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he has been in custody since July 2002, charged in the death of an American soldier.
The students spent several hours across from the consulate in downtown Toronto, talking to passersby about Khadr's case and collecting signatures on a petition. Most occupied themselves playing musical instruments, waving banners, chanting and singing.
"Don't let torture go unchallenged," one placard read. "Guantanamo is America's gulag," read another.
"There's a lot of apathy and young people get criticized for not being part of the political system," O'Dwyer said. "This is a way for young people to be part of the political system. I really hope politicians listen to what they have to say."And guess who the kids' MP is? Conservative Rick "Lock-em-up" Norlock, also Brenda Martin's MP. Norlock is still ridiculously spewing the Conservative line on the farce that is Gitmo:
He called it "embarrassing as a Canadian" to see a child captured and held in prison for years.
While he has met with the students and respects their efforts, Norlock said the charges against Khadr are "very serious" and must be dealt with within the confines of the judicial system, even if it takes years of delays.
"I have faith in western democracy," Norlock said. "In the end, the right thing will be done."
Well that's a charming and naive passive sentiment. Faith in the Bush administration's special show trials? Come on, Norlock. Where have you been? Judges being paraded in and out by the Bush administration depending on their rulings, politically motivated prosecutions, Gitmo's got it all. It is hardly a beacon for western democratic rule of law traditions. But hardly a surprising position from Norlock given his track record.
Good for the kids. They know better.