Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Khadr response delivered as nation preoccupied with...

Note the time of this press release. It came as Canada was about to play its first men's Olympic hockey game. Yes, it's another profile in courage from the Harper government:
Feb 16, 2010 18:32 ET
Statement by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson Regarding the Supreme Court of Canada Decision on Omar Khadr

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2010) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, made the following statement today regarding the Government of Canada's response to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Prime Minister of Canada, et al. v. Omar Ahmed Khadr:

"In its ruling, the Supreme Court recognized the constitutional responsibility of the executive to make decisions on matters of foreign affairs, given the complex and ever-changing circumstances of diplomacy, and the need to take into account Canada's broader interests. The Supreme Court did not require the Government to ask for accused terrorist Omar Khadr's return.

"In response to the Supreme Court's ruling, the Government of Canada today delivered a diplomatic note to the Government of the United States formally seeking assurances that any evidence or statements shared with U.S. authorities as a result of the interviews of Mr. Khadr by Canadian agents and officials in 2003 and 2004 not be used against him by U.S. authorities in the context of proceedings before the Military Commission or elsewhere.

"Omar Khadr faces very serious charges, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, material support for terrorism, and spying. The Government of Canada continues to provide consular services to Mr. Khadr."
Needless to say, the move is not going over well with Khadr's lawyers and some legal commentators. The question is whether simply requesting that the U.S. ignore the fruits of the tainted interviews is responsive to the Supreme Court's judgment that held Khadr is entitled to "an appropriate and just remedy." Not going to hazard a guess on that one but it does look like legal action will be taken now that the government has responded in this manner.

What might be interesting is the American reaction. Do these interviews form enough of a basis in the case against Khadr that they could decide that the case has been weakened and seek to have Canada take him back? Might it be enough cover for the Obama administration? Something to consider. There's going to be some reaction from the U.S. to this diplomatic note that we'll presumably be hearing about.

What else to say about this government, issuing their formal response to an historic Supreme Court judgment during the Olympics, by press release, during game one for Canada's men's hockey team. The thing speaks for itself.