Monday, November 16, 2009

Bob Rae scrum on Khadr

Watch here. On Khadr's status as a child soldier, on the government's unwillingness to state categorically that they will respect the Supreme Court of Canada's ultimate judgment. On that score, the French media seem to be reporting on that angle tonight, English media not so much.

The fact that the Harper government is letting hang in the air the prospect of ignoring the Supreme Court of Canada down the road if they don't like the Khadr judgment is irresponsible. I mean, even the Bush administration respected multiple United States Supreme Court judgments declaring the military commission processes unconstitutional.

They may be quite serious about entertaining the possibility of invoking the notwithstanding clause in the face of a judgment they don't like. Or they may be just engaging in political posturing to milk the issue with the base for a few months then ultimately respect the judgment. Either possibility is a disgrace but hardly surprising from this partisan oriented government.

Update: The comparison with the U.S. Supreme Court and the Bush administration's reaction to judgments there is not a perfect one, of course. There's no "notwithstanding clause" to be exercised there and if there were one, that applied in a given case, no doubt it would have been. The Bush administration certainly acted in the wake of harmful Supreme Court decisions to re-enact in altered ways provisions that were struck down and the military commission process remains intact with detainees sitting there for years on end without facing trial. Khadr is one of them.