The continual back and forth between people who think Omar Khadr should be returned to Canada, and those who think he should face the ‘justice’ of Guantanamo Bay frequently fails to realize that the debate over what to do with Omar has nothing to do with Omar, and everything to do with us.
By all accounts Omar was not a particularly nice person when he was captured by the Americans, and his many years in Guantanamo bay are unlikely to have made him any more pleasant to be around. I wouldn’t want him as my neighbour, and if this was about Omar I would prefer he spend the rest of his life rotting in a cell in Guantanamo.
But the question of what do to with Omar has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with us. Do we adhere to our laws or toss them away when they become inconvenient?
The Supreme court of Canada has repeatedly ruled that the Government of Canada has violated Omar’s constitution rights. It is the Government of Canada responsibility to ensure that every single Canadian has his constitutional rights defended. No mater how monstrous of a Canadian he might be, Omar is still entitled to his constitutional rights. Those rights are universal to Canadians, and there is no excuse to apply them selectively.
In other words this is about whether or not are we a law abiding nation.
And that is what the Omar issue is all about. Do we care about enough about our own laws to ensure they are applied universally, or are we willing to sacrifice them when it is convenient to do so. Are we willing to sacrifice a key Canadian value for Omar Khadr?
I am not.