L’affaire Omar Khadr: Rex Murphy on how Trudeau skipped his theme socks as he schemed the Khadr apology

“Three things mark the Khadr announcement. The government didn’t want to be associated with it. They wanted it done swiftly. And they didn’t want Trudeau on the same continent when the news broke”
                                                                                        – Rex Murphy

National Post Masthead

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… and started like a guilty thing upon a fearful summons.

— Hamlet

July 7, 2017
Rex Murphy
The National Post

How and when Canadians were let in on the Trudeau government’s lavish settlement and accompanying official apology to Omar Khadr are its most curious and telling elements. No cabinet minister, and certainly not Justin Trudeau, stepped before a bank of microphones and cameras to bring the good news to Canadians before it was a done deal. How unlike Trudeau to put a blanket over his good deeds — more usually he orders up another pair of billboard socks to mark such occasions. No socks for Khadr.

We learned of it from Ottawa’s scoop master, Robert Fife. Fife is a reporter, not a Liberal spokesman. No spokesman was provided for days. The word, as it were, just got out. And it’s surely a coincidence that it got out at the tail end of our Canada Day celebrations, and on the eve of morning of the American’s Fourth of July.

Wedged in between competing fireworks, so to speak. Was there anyone in the Canadian government who thought this tendentious settlement was a good way to end our national birthday party and send a message to the Americans at the beginning of theirs? However we feel about Khadr’s various doings, the Americans are still more than a little sensitive on this score. Was the timing, then, incidentally or accidentally, a diplomatic shot in the ribs to the Americans, a touch of impishness or sly scorn towards Trumpian America?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, holds up a pair of socks that he received as a gift from Kelly Ripa, centre, and Ryan Seacrest in Niagara Falls, Ontario on Monday, June 5, 2017. Aaron Lynett / CP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, holds up a pair of socks that he received as a gift from Kelly Ripa, centre, and Ryan Seacrest in Niagara Falls, Ontario on Monday, June 5, 2017. Aaron Lynett / CP

The bells were still tolling for Canada’s birthday and Trudeau headed off to Ireland when the news was leaked. So he was

So he was conveniently across the sea and on another continent by the time people were shaking their heads over the vast cash award, all but immune to having to answer questions about it. The travelling press caravan did get one question to him, and his comment — it’s a magical piece of work — had more blarney in it than the famous stone itself: “There is a judicial process underway that has been underway for a number of years now and we are anticipating, like I think a number of people are, that that judicial process is coming to its conclusion.”

The travelling press caravan did get one question to him, and his comment — it’s a magical piece of work — had more blarney in it than the famous stone itself: “There is a judicial process underway that has been underway for a number of years now and we are anticipating, like I think a number of people are, that that judicial process is coming to its conclusion.”

“There is a judicial process underway that has been underway for a number of years now and we are anticipating, like I think a number of people are, that that judicial process is coming to its conclusion.”

If this be transparency let us have mud. Clams are more open. If there is information in that statement, it is under armed guard and in witness protection. Drop the padding and what we have is this: there is a process, there has been a process, and Trudeau and an unspecified number of people think this process will end. If he had just added, “And a proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it’s proven” we could embed this glory right under the Gettysburg address in the quotation books.

No naming of Khadr. No mention of the dollar sum. No reference to the apology. No commiserating remarks for Tabitha Speer, the wife of the dead American medic. Equally stunning, Trudeau neglected to highlight its “diversity,” which for any Justin Trudeau statement is the equivalent of going to bed without saying your night prayers.

On Thursday, we had the capper. Fife again — he is quickly becoming the Paul Revere of all Khadr news — gave us the revelations that the $10.5 million, tax free be it noted, had already been handed over. Process complete. A government famously so sluggish in so many areas — veterans’ treatment comes first to mind — went full Road Runner getting the cash to Khadr.

Three things mark the Khadr announcement. The government didn’t want in any visible way to be associated with it. They wanted it done swiftly and with maximum distraction. And they didn’t want Trudeau on the same continent when the news broke.

Why so coy, it must be asked? Why would Trudeau and his government, having done, as I am sure in later days they will emphatically insist, the right thing, the just thing, the principled thing, the Charter-compliant thing, be so shy of association with their own high righteousness?

Most likely because there are so many questions about the Khadr absolution and jackpot he doesn’t want to answer or cannot.

Why the outlandish amount? Does not repatriation, removal from the American system of justice, and a full apology from the entire government of Canada signify a generous correction by the Canadian state of what it perceives as the wrongs done to Khadr?

What does he think is the response of Canadian soldiers, particularly veterans of Afghanistan, to this deal? I’d say they are furious. He owes the servicemen and women an accounting. If he is confident of the rightness of the award, the amount, the instant payment, and the state apology, he owes them his thinking on the matter. Not some jumbled vapourizing on process mumbled reluctantly over shamrocks and sock displays in Ireland.

Finally, the judicial process. Trudeau was slippery when he talked of “anticipating” the “judicial process is coming to its conclusion.” No such thing. He had amputated the judicial process when he made those remarks. Took it out of the courts and straight to lavish settlement. Premier Brad Wall made the point as well as any: “… there ought never be an offer to ‘settle.’ Some things are worth the legal fight … right to the end.”

There is as much politics as justice involved in the Khadr settlement. In fact, there’s much more. And the manner and timing of how it has been “resolved” is a straightline indication that the political dimension is at least as powerful as the judicial one. It’s summer now, and sunny days, but fall will come, with a good chance of a long winter too on this business.

2 comments for “L’affaire Omar Khadr: Rex Murphy on how Trudeau skipped his theme socks as he schemed the Khadr apology

  1. Rick
    July 9, 2017 at 9:22 AM

    Trudeau lite who I prefer to call Turd Hole is nothing more then a sock puppet for Islam.

  2. Bob kaczynskii
    July 11, 2017 at 9:54 AM

    Thanks Rex,trudeau is a sneaky egotistical worm,feeding his ego by giving away $millions of Canadian taxpayer $all over the world as if it was his own $to give.
    Can’t wait for election hope damage this fool does can be reversed somewhat

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