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All Canadians are equal before the law…

..but the Harper government is arguing that it should be allowed to pick and choose which Canadians it should help overseas or in another country if they get into trouble, regardless of the circumstances. That’s part of their justification in launching an appeal of the Federal Court decision that orders them to seek the return of Omar Khadr home to Canada,  and as Jeff points out, it appears as a Canadian you’ll get help if the Conservative government  likes you – not so much if they don’t, or if you aren’t a member of an ethnic group that the Conservatives are trying to woo to vote for them:

This argument seems to crystallize Harper’s foreign policy: get in trouble overseas, whether your own fault or not, and MAYBE we’ll help you. It helps, of course, if you fit their definition of a “real Canadian” or if it plays into Jason Kenney’s outreach strategy. But, in essence, there’s two classes of Canadians: ones the Conservatives like and ones they don’t. And apparently only the latter are entitled to the assistance of their country’s department of foreign affairs.Perhaps they should add a disclaimer to Canadian passports…

In essence, the Harper government is protesting to the courts that it should be allowed to  protect certain Canadians, not all Canadians. The brief moment of sanity and acknowledgment that they were wrong in the Abousfian Abdelrazik case has dissipated (and no surprise here, they waited til Parliament broke for the summer before announcing the appeal).

UPDATE @ 3pm: I know you can’t read too much into the line of questioning appeal judges do as to what they’re thinking or how they’ll rule,  but I’d say this line of questioning by the Federal Court of Appeal, and the answer given by the Conservative government of Canada’s lawyer doesn’t bode well for the appeal being successful:

A federal lawyer conceded Tuesday that she cannot “point to any risks” if Omar Khadr were repatriated to Canada. Doreen Mueller made the admission Tuesday under repeated grilling from Federal Court of Appeal judges on why the Canadian government refuses to seek the return of the Canadian terror suspect from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“If the government makes the request, is there a negative impact on its security interests?” asked Justice Karen Sharlow. “If that were the conclusion . . . I can’t point to any risks,” said Mueller.

So the government concedes Omar Khadr wouldn’t be a security risk if repatriated home, yet they continue to want to refuse to do that repatriation request to the US. This government is exhibiting disgraceful and embarrassing behaviour in how it’s conducted itself over Khadr, and its just admitted that one of its primary reasons it may have used to justify not advocating on his behalf is not a concern at all.

(H/T: Jeff)

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4 comments to All Canadians are equal before the law…

  • kwittet

    Scott. Better hope you dont go overseas and get into trouble after all the bad nasty things you say. you may find yourself on permanent vacation!!
    Sorry..had to add some dark humour to this post!!
    Hows the family. I may actually come out to a family reunion this year!

  • ridenrain

    Abousfian Abdelrazik was arrested by Sudanese officials at the request of CSIS back in 2003. I’m guessing this makes it Chretien’s fault, just like Arar was?

  • S

    I’m not too worried. I’m white and female, so if I get into trouble in say, Mexico, I just have to turn on the tears and bingo, I’m back in Canada.

    • @S, Don’t be too sure.. I remember the government being initially extremely reluctant to get involved in Brenda Martin’s case either… until public pressure forced them to do so.

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