Monday, July 10, 2017


Every time I've heard the term fake news from the Trump administration, I've rolled my eyes and grieved for the decline of American civilization.

The term has become the rallying cry for those who don't want to have to think: they just want to be told something and have an emotional response that somehow, magically, gets turned into their idea of reality. What makes it sad is that it has created a society of morons who don't care to think critically.

On Saturday, as my family and I were enjoying a delicious shawarma lunch at a small restaurant in the far, south-east corner of Fisher Glen, I spied the daily edition of Ottawa's tabloid, The Sun. I saw the headline near the top of the front page and was moved to an emotional reaction.

I was immediately outraged.

But my anger was not directed at the subject of the headline; rather, it was directed at the tabloid itself. And I immediately thought: if ever there was a case to scream "FAKE NEWS," this was it.

In today's political climate, one has to tread carefully. We have seen a polarization in the United States, and there are some who clearly want the same for Canada. Let's look at the reckless statement that this disreputable publication has put out, and sort the falsehoods from the truth.

"Terror Tycoon"—Macmillan Dictionary defines a tycoon as "a rich and powerful person who is involved in business or industry." And while Omar Khadr may be receiving a large cash settlement, he is hardly powerful, nor is he involved in any business or industry in which he profited. And, while many people have called Khadr a "terrorist," it galls me to think how quickly people brush aside the facts that
  • he was only 15 years old when he was captured, making him a child soldier, at best 
  • he was brainwashed by his father, who took him to Afghanistan, where he was made to fight
  • he was fighting the Americans, who had invaded Afghanistan, which makes him more of an insurgent than a terrorist
"Trudeau throws cash grenade at Khadr to blow up U.S. widow's lawsuit"—this statement makes it look like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally made a decision to give Khadr the $10.5M just because he wanted to, that he personally handed over a cheque or a suitcase full of cash to the former Guantanamo inmate.

Let's be clear: the Liberal government didn't initiate this payment; the lawyers for Khadr did, after the Charter of Rights was violated in his case. The initial suit called for almost double the settled amount, but the Supreme Court, not the Liberals, came up with the amount to be paid.

Laws were broken, rights were violated, and the court rightly favoured on Khadr's side.

Trudeau wasn't even involved in the apology to Khadr: Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered the statement of apology. Of course, Trudeau knew about the apology and approved it, but I don't blame any government for admitting that rights have been denied and for trying to make amends.

Come on, folks, Trudeau wasn't even the leader of the Liberals nor was his party in power when Khadr was finally repatriated.

The references to "grenade" and the U.S. widow are in poor taste. This settlement has nothing to do with her. As unfortunate as her husband's death was (Khadr confessed, under torture, to throwing the grenade, but later admitted that he doesn't remember if he even threw it), he was a soldier in a war zone and knew the risks associated with combat. One government can sue another government over the reparations in war but who honestly thinks one combatant can be sued for another combatant's death?

If that's the case, I hope the families of the Canadian soldiers who were bombed by an American fighter pilot took him to the cleaners.

It doesn't matter what opinion you hold on this Omar Khadr settlement as long as your opinions are backed with facts, that the sources of your information are credible and are not delivered for the sole reason of evoking an emotional, knee-jerk reaction.

This weekend, federal Conservative Party leader, Andrew Scheer tweeted, "Canadians are shocked by Justin Trudeau’s decision to give a $10.5 million secret payout to the Omar Khadr. Now it’s up to him to explain." Again, this was not a decision that Trudeau made but an order from the Supreme Court to the Government of Canada. The payout wasn't secret, it was the settled amount as dictated by the court.

Trudeau has nothing to explain, but rather it makes one thing clear about Scheer: either he's terribly naive and doesn't understand how the court system works or he is manipulating the public, through misinformation, to achieve an emotional response from those who don't want to think for themselves.

Either way, it's shameful. I replied to that tweet, saying, "If you don't understand why this had to be done, you don't belong in a leadership position."

Even former Conservative leader, Stephen Harper, who fought against bringing Khadr back to Canada, falsely blamed the Liberals for some "secret deal" to pay off Khadr. On Facebook, Harper opined, “The government today attempted to lay blame elsewhere for their decision to conclude a secret deal with Omar Khadr. The decision to enter into this deal is theirs, and theirs alone, and it is simply wrong. Canadians deserve better than this.”

He should go back to staying out of politics and not cast stones. Especially rubber ones.

This post is, of course, my opinion, too. But my opinion is based on the information that I've checked from different news sources. I'm not reacting out of hearsay, but on trusted news sources.

Not The Sun. Not Scheer. Never Harper.

I don't necessarily like that Canadian taxpayers had to pay out such a large sum, but I like even less that a Canadian citizen, who was raised by a father who turned his back on a country that had welcomed him and his family, only to return to his home country and force his son to fight against the West.

I don't like that a Canadian citizen, who was a child soldier, was taken to an American detention facility and tortured. I don't like that his rights were violated.

It's enough that Khadr lived through that ordeal. Listening to him now, as he's been repatriated and given a taste of freedom after being locked up for 10 years, it's amazing that he appears as calm and forgiving as he does. I can't imagine the physical and mental anguish that he's endured.

Our revered military veterans have fought and died to preserve our way of life and to protect our Charter of Rights: not for a select few but for all Canadians. I think that Justin Trudeau put it aptly when he said, "When the government violates any Canadian's Charter rights, we all end up paying for it," adding that the Charter protects all Canadians, "even when it is uncomfortable." 

So if you're uncomfortable, that's okay. But before you provide a knee-jerk, emotional response, make sure it's intelligent, that your information is provided by credible sources.

Don't ever trust The Sun or any news source that flowers it's headlines with inflammatory statements.

I welcome your opinions.


1 comment:

  1. Nice timing on your post - we had a long discussion on this yesterday with some friends. Lots of the usual "we shouldnt be giving money to this terrorist and convicted killer" etc. Which, as you stated, is just a refusal to understand what the settlement is actually based on denial of his rights as a Canadian. Not whether he was a terrorist or not.

    Anyway, hopefully more people will take the time to actually understand this case in more detail.