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Majority of Canadians now want government to help get Khadr released.

It appears that the military tribunal which ruled it had no jurisdiction in ruling on Khadr and dismissed all charges against him has caused Canadians to believe its time our government did something to bring him home:

The survey of 1,028 people found that 51 per cent believe Ottawa should actively intervene to secure Khadr’s release, up from 40 per cent just two weeks ago, said Craig Worden, vice-president, public affairs at Angus Reid. Also, according to the survey, 53 per cent of Canadians don’t trust the federal government to help should they be arrested in a foreign country.

As you can see, a majority now also believe Canada won’t do much to help them out with their rights as a Canadian citizen should they be charged in a foreign land – which appears to be a well-justified fear.

Regardless, it appears a lot of Canadians are starting to share the view held by many that we should bring Khadr here and either charge him here – where he has a chance of a fair trial that is his right to have as a Canadian citizen – or release him if we have no evidence. Notwithstanding the bad reputation his family has, Canadians are starting to remember that no matter who you are or who your family is, being detained for 5 years without a fair trial is a miscarriage of justice.

UPDATE: A caveat to this poll result. This apparently is another of the notorious Angus-Reid online polls which I have had a great deal of skepticism over, because I believe the methodology to be unproven and suspect. I’ve always said I don’t care what the poll #’s are for what issue.. if it’s an online poll over a standard one, then one needs to take it with a grain of salt. This is no different. My remarks  in the comments section about the need for judicial process and the rule of law and the presumption of innocence over guilt to be honoured aren’t changed by whether this poll is accurate or not, however.

24 comments to Majority of Canadians now want government to help get Khadr released.

  • shoshana berman

    Sorry to go on, but if he is tried in the US he will probably face the death penalty and be executed.   He won't be in Guantanamo.  Again, be careful what you wish for.

  • shoshana berman

    This is much like thinking the RCMP needs to go to Mexico to solve the "murder" of a careless, drunken, belligerent Candian hit by a car because he is Canadian.  Sorry the RCMP and Canada's legal justice system had NO JURISDICTION in other countries.  This whole nanny state garbage is not Liberal.  Its just arrogance.  Kadr is subject to US law.  They will figure it out.  We don't use diplomatic channels to release murderers from US jurisdiction just because they are Canadian, nor should we.

  • ALW

    I'm confused, Scott.  First you cite poll results that show that a majority of Canadians want Khadr to get help.  I can only presume you are using this as evidence that it's the right thing to do.  Then you add a caveat saying "it doesn't matter what the polls say, it's the right thing to do."

    Since a large number of your posts cite polling numbers showing the preferences of Canadians for this or that party or this or that policy, doesn't this create a bit of a conundrum for you?  I see three tenable positions:

    1) Whatever the majority wants is "right".
    2) Some things are right, regardless of what the majority wants.
    3) It depends

    My position is that when we are speaking about what is <i>morally</i> right or wrong, that exists independently of majority opinion.  But when we talk about political legitimacy (or palatability) then majority opinion matters.  I am curious as to your view on this.

  • shoshana berman

    Scott when you commit crimes in other countries and in war time you aren't subject to our laws or legal system.  Shake your head around.  Sorry if you go to Mexico, your subject to mexican law.  If you go to Saudi Arabia you're subject to Saudi law.   If you go to Turkey you're subject to Turkish law.   Stop being so self important as to think Candian citizenshio is a get out of jail free card.  I got news for you.  It ain't and it's bloody arrogant and insulting to every other soveriegn nation to think it is. 

  • shoshana berman

    I will add this would be like the boy crying wolf.  When the Canadian government goes to bat to have people like a treasonous murderer released, like they did for Kadr's father, it deligitimizes our position when we fight to have innocent and wrongly accused Canadians released.  Kadr is not Arar.  We jeopardize the safety and security of wronly accused Canadians, when we fight to have someone who has admitted to treason and murder released.  Sorry, Kadr chose to be a martyr for his cause and his mother and sister are still advocating violence and jihad as a defence for his actions.  Contrast this to Monia Mazigh pleas for her innocent husband's release.  We cannot endanger our diplomatic ability to help innocent Candians for someone the US has every right to detain.  They will sort out wherre that should happen in their courts.  It is not our jurisdiction and he's probably bettter off where he is, than where they will send him in the Continental US.  End of story.       

  • shoshana berman

    It is me and I stand by my comments.   [email protected]       The facts in this casse are admitted to by him and by his mother and sister and by witnesses.  He was in Afghanistan by his own admission fighting against Canadian and US troops resulting in the death of at least one, proven, US soldier.  That's treason boys and girls.  As I said and even the US and Canadian administrations are confused about, I am unsure of the law here.  The judge did not "drop charges" by the way.  He said he had no jurisdiction.  US super max jails violate 21 UN resolutions on human rights.  That's when you're not in isolation.   I am not sure that advocating that is what should be done with him is "Liberal"  As I stated, by ALL accounts of young prisoners at Guantanamo they have been treated well there.  The US does have a right to hold him and imprison him, no matter if he is Canadian, as he killed one of their soldiers.   I'm sorry do you think if your Canadian you get to murder US citizens and then be given a get out of jail free card because you are Canadian???  That's ludicrous.  He murdered someone.  He was not a soldier in the military at the time.  He chose to be in Afghanistan as a Canadian citizen to fight against Canadian and US forces approved of by the Canadian Parliament with deadly force.  He is guilty of treason and murder by his own and his family's admission.  The fact that he is Candian just adds the treason charge.  it doesn't get him out of jail.  As i have said would you rather he rot in a US super MAX in isolation with no international monitoring.  Think about what you are asking for.

  • tori

    frank, I have no beef with online polls.  They have their pros and cons, just like traditional phone polls.  I just thought it was funny that Scott jumped on the results of this poll as proof positive, even though he's been known to dismiss the results of online polls outright "Two words…online poll".

    Now I know it's not the method he dislikes- he just doesn't like it when the results go against his views.

  • KC

    I reaffirm my comments from your previous post on this subject namely:

    1) Innocent until proven guilty is a principle of law and a cornerstone of a liberal society.  But it is not, as you suggest, a statement of actual objective fact.  The right of a person not to be subjected to criminal sanction before being proven guilty beyond  a reasonable doubt is an important compenent of a justice system in a liberal society.  It does not however apply to personal judgements about a person.  You, I and anyone else who doesn't have the power to take away the accused's liberty are all entitled to form our opinion based on any standard or presumption we choose (ie "hes probably guilty", "based on what I know Im pretty sure hes guilty").   If my neighbour is accused of sexually assaulting my daughter, and then acquitted at trial because despite strong evidence against him a "reasonable doubt remains" you can bet your ass that I will be installing a state of the art security system, putting bars on my windows and keeping my eye on him.  That is MY right as an individual and is just as important a component of liberalism as the legal presumption of innocence.  Based on what I know of the case Khadr is probably guilty of treason against Canada but in the eyes of the law he is presumed innocent until proven guilty and should not be subjected to arbitrary detention.

    2)  Canada should stand up for all people of the worlds whose rights are being infringed including those being held at Guantanamo Bay.  The lack of judicial oversight at that facility is appalling and rightly deserving of censure.  That being said Mr. Khadr is not entitled as of right to any special representations not required by law.  Point me to a law saying that DFAIT  must make representations for Canadians detained abroad and I may rethink my position.

    3) The two issues are unrelated.  Canada is not obliged to make special representation on Khadr's behalf because there is no legal or moral basis for such an obligation not because I think hes probably guilty of treason.   That fact should be irrelevant to how the government makes its decisions.

    Scott, one final point.  It doesnt make much sense to post about public opinion on how Canada should govern itself with respect to Khadr and then say "it doesn't really matter if a majority support him or not".   I agree that it doesnt matter, which begs the question as to why you present it as an argument in favour of intervention in the first place. 

  • Tori,

    Yes, it is an ‘online poll’ but not conducted in an unscientific manner as most (if not all) media online polls. It’s not ‘freeped’.

    From the actual poll report at –
    From June 15 to 18, 2007, Angus Reid Strategies conducted an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,028 adult Canadians. The margin of error for the total sample is +3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adultpopulation of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

  • tori


    Unless I am mistaken, you are the one who dismisses online polls outright, no?  or is this only when the poll results do not align with your views?

    If I am wrong, forgive me.  I just hate inconsistency.

  • steve l

    Obviously this is a subject that you are passionate about and I do not in principle disagree with what you say about equal treatment before the law.

    I just do not believe that the majority of Canadian support Kadr but I will concede that the trend is towards more support then previously. 

  • You know what? In the end, it doesn't really matter if a majority support him or not. Justice is supposed to treat all citizens equally.  The fact that a poll says a majority now feels Canada should make an effort to get him out of Guantanamo is just showing that they are coming around to that fact.

    Anti-American? Nope. but I'm certainly anti-Bush and anti-Republican and anti-anyone who would destroy our system of justice and equal rights for all, regardless of their political views or other things that mainstream society might not like about them. 

    Tell me Steve, why are you against a person having a fair trial and to be able to defend himself against charges?

  • steve l

    The debate before you made it personal and went off on an anti-american tirade was whether the majority of  Canadian would support the protection of Kahr. Neither the biased question Angus Reid posed or your arguments are at all convincing that Canadians support him.

  • Mike.. if the IP address is accurate, then I would say it probably is the real Shoshana.

  • Hey Steve:

    Last I looked in our justice system, he IS innocent – til proven otherwise. Those charges were never proven in a court or tribunal or otherwise. That’s how our justice system works. He’s not guilty til proven otherwise.. and his family history has nothing to do with the specific charges against him.

    See Mike’s excellent analysis above mine.. I couldn’t have said it better. Some of the George Bush loving crowd up here are a bunch of hypocrites, and showing rather alarming authoritarian tendencies. If you want to have a justice system prejudiced against certain people, go move to the US, where they’ve done a bangup job in just 6 years under Bush of eviscerating the US Constitution and making a mockery of habeas corpus. I don’t want your ilk here ruining our rule of law as well.

  • Firstly, I don't believe that the poster above is the real Shoshana Berman, but anyway here we go:

    "Kadr is guilty of treason, not against the US, against Canada."

    Based on what evidence, exactly?

    "they captured him and he killed a US soldier it's not inappropriate that he is being held by them, sorry"

    Based on what evidence, exactly?

    "You can't fight against the troops of your own country or their allies in combat without it being treason. "

    Based on what evidence, exactly?

    "He comitted trteason against Canada and its allies and his mother and sister still advocate it.  In fact, i'm not sure why they aren't in jail."

    Again, based on what evidence. And his family are not in jail because, as distasteful as their opinions and views may be, they have committed no crime. Insert an appropriate quote from Voltaire here….

    "Everything I have heard about the treatment of young prisoners in Guantanamo Bay is that they were treated very well.  This is the account of several other foreign nationals that ahve been subsequently released."

    No, according to most of those rel;eased, they face torture, isolation and treatment that even in the US would be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Even  people like Colin Powell want Gitmo closed. And it hardly matters if they do treat people "well" – most people are imprisoned there indefinitely without charge, trial, access to counsel, meaning if you want to imprison them, PROVE they committed a crime or let them go. In other words, you are a liar and this sentence proves it. Or maybe stupid – I'm not sure at this point which is worse.

    Everything you said here is typical right-wing authoritarian blubbering points. Khadr was 15 when the alleged incident happened. We do not know if he even committed the act he is alleged to have committed, because no evidence has been shown. And if he did commit it, we don't know if it was out of fear, self-defense, or by accident. The point is we don't know – but we could find out with due process and a trial, because that is what they are for.  Funny how you are all for Muslim 15 year olds to be imprisoned forever, but when its child soldiers from Africa, from the Christian Lords Army in Uganda,  you guys are all for helping them out.

    No, you are merely a hate-filled anti-Muslim bigot, who happily wished to see people detained without trial or charge, merely because you think they are "the enemy" or Muslim. You advocate the very thing that was perpetrated on the Jews in Germany 70 years ago.  You are a damn hypocrite.

    Which is why I know this person is not the real Shoshana Berman, but some SDA lackey impostor. The real Shoshana is too intelligent to make these incredible leaps of logic.

  • steve l


    Look at the wording of the question it implies that Kadr is an innocent man being held without merit.

    Angus Reid should be charged with professional conduct here. Unless a person is aware of the situation they would naturally say yes. Here is the question.

    As you may know, an American military judge recently dropped the charges of murder and terrorism against Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, who has spent almost five years in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, due to a technicality. Khadr, the son of al-Qaeda fighter Ahmed Said Khadr, was 15 when the alleged incident took place. Do you agree or disagree with the Canadian government actively intervening to secure Omar Khadr’s release?

  • Well Shoshana, if the case against him is so slam-dunk… charge him in a court of law and prove it. What you’ve just said is all alleged. Remember the phrase guilty till proven innocent? Apparently you haven’t, and I am sad to see someone who is a Liberal Party member advocating what the right-wing of this country is advocating – which is apparently to lock people up on rumour or on hearsay without testing the validity of that hearsay or “evidence” in a fair trial, which is the basis of our society.

    I don’t care what his family spouts off – what’s at issue here is whether the young man is guilty of what was alleged, or not. Either way, he should be charged in a proper court and let’s find out what the evidence is.

    And since when did you become the authority on Guantanamo Bay, Shoshana?

  • shoshanaberman

    Kadr is guilty of treason, not against the US, against Canada.  However since the US was leading the war in Afghanistan at the time, and they captured him and he killed a US soldier it's not inappropriate that he is being held by them, sorry.  I don't know enough about war time law or international law to be sure of where it should happen, but he should definately be tried and be in jail.  You can't fight against the troops of your own country or their allies in combat without it being treason.  Honestly if it were more than sixty years ago he would just have been shot.  He comitted trteason against Canada and its allies and his mother and sister still advocate it.  In fact, i'm not sure why they aren't in jail.  You can't fight against your own county's troops in a war.  You just can't. It's treason.  Everything I have heard about the treatment of young prisoners in Guantanamo Bay is that they were treated very well.  This is the account of several other foreign nationals that ahve been subsequently released.  Maybe he should be in a US prison, but a super max in isolation, which he would be, is no better than guantanamo, maybe worse.  He would never be released on a sercurity certificate basis anyways.   The Kadhr's have said they will use violence and support its use for islamic jihad, which they feel is necessary now.  They still say that.  There is no reason for this man to be released.

  • Tori.  If it is an online poll.. I will add that caveat to the post. It never said in the original article that it was, so I presumed that meant it was Angus-Reid's traditional phone poll that they used.

  • Steve L:

     1) You're splitting hairs here – you sound like a Conservative who hates the poll results.  51% is a majority. You may not like that, but thats what it is. Keep in mind that the poll isnt 51-49. There are undecideds in this poll as well.  I can say "a plurality" if you like.. but that doesn't change that more Canadians want the government to do something then those who don't, and that has dramatically risen according to this poll.

    2) Whether you have met a single person or not concerned about him is irrelevant, stats wise. I'm sorry to put you down.. but I have my doubts you have your finger on the entire pulse of the nation – that's what pollsters are for.

    3)   Whether you hate his family is also irrelevant; this is to do with charges against him, not his family.

    4) Whether you don't like the fact he's a Canadian citizen and question his loyalty is also irrelevant. The fact is that he was born here and those rights as a citizen are his. The fact is that he's never been charged under the US's draconian system, and they have denied him habeas corpus, should be a concern to every Canadian, including yourself.

    If the Canadian government has evidence to indict him with, charge him here under a proper court setting as the justice system would with any other suspect of a crime.  Or, if they have nothing, as the US Government seems not to, since they've taken 5 years to try and charge him with something, and then fail to do so even in their trumped-up version of a kangaroo court with their justice tribunals, then free him.

    That is what justice is, Steve L.

  • tori

    i just think this is funny…this is an online poll, right?

  • steve l


    I am not that familiar with your work so I don't want to be too critical as this might be just a bad post among other ones that present  better arguements but your logic here is very weak.

    1. If support was 40% two weeks ago and 51% this week then statistically there is not a  majority here

    2. point in time polls especially ones that do not have strong outcomes one way or another are meaningless.

    3. I doubt all the responders understood the situation well enough to answer the question properly.

    I have not met a single person who is concerned about Khadr viewing him and his family as Canadian's of convenience. His sister and mother continue to bad mouth Canada for goodiness sakes.     

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