Saturday, June 21, 2008

McCain to Harper: ask and Khadr will be repatriated

As reported in the Star, yesterday there was quite a significant development in the Khadr case. The Republican presidential nominee signalled that he would return Khadr if the Canadian government asked for his repatriation. That McCain comment effectively pulls the rug out from under the Harper government's sycophantic position in backing the Bush administration. If McCain is taking this position, at a public press conference in Ottawa, then he's signalling that it could actually happen - now - if that's what our government requests. Here's McCain from yesterday:
Senator John McCain says he would favour returning Toronto-born Omar Khadr to Canada from Guantanamo Bay if Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested it.
...
At a press conference after his Ottawa speech yesterday, McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said there have been "ongoing discussions" between Canada and the U.S over the handling of Khadr's case.

Commenting on the possible return of Khadr to Canada, McCain said, "I hope that we could comply with whatever is agreed to by the Canadian government. And then, I think, is the time to move forward with addressing that issue."
The Harper p.r. people immediately responded to this damning bit of exposure from their supposed steadfast friends in the Republican party:
A Harper government spokesperson said later yesterday that McCain was referring only to the regular discussions between consular officials about a Canadian detained abroad.
Right. Got to tamp out any possible suggestion that the Americans might actually be looking to get Khadr back to Canada. Way to stand up for a Canadian citizen there, Harpies. Must preserve your political posturing at all costs.

All other western nations have gotten their citizens out of the Gitmo gulag. Even the very conservative McCain is apparently shaking his head wondering what's going on with Canada not having done so.

What is the Harper government's point in sticking with a policy that the U.S. is about to abandon as of January 2009? Especially when given this massive opening from the highest profile Republican in the United States at this moment? Is any Harperite getting it through their thick skulls that their Gitmo chest pounding is puzzling even to the likes of McCain?