What happens in Canada should stay in Canada ~ Opinion

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Did your mother ever tell you, “What happens in this house stays in this house?” It usually wasn’t about terribly serious things but if Uncle Barney cursed out the TV repair guy or Grandpa Joe drank too much at a family wedding we were expected to keep it on the down low. Airing one’s dirty laundry in public was just something you did not do. And if it was more serious, it had really better stay in-house.

Apparently, certain Conservatives never got that memo as evidenced by the despicable cross-border campaign to criticize the Liberal government in general and Prime Minister Trudeau in particular in relation to the $10.5 million settlement to Omar Khadr.

What I really dislike about a certain brand of Conservative is the cold lack of empathy about the pain of others. Trying to live on minimum wage? It sucks to be you but you better not wipe out business as we know it by asking for an increase! Tortured and abandoned as a child soldier? Don’t whine about a little sleep deprivation and you sure as hell better not accept a settlement and apology from the government that failed to protect you.

And for the reams of people saying some iteration of “My kid knew right and wrong at 14/15”, here’s a bit of science for you: “These days, a consensus of neuroscientists agree that brain development likely persists until at least the mid-20s – possibly until the 30s.” (According to a study done at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg’s Research Institute on Public Health.) But hey, keep checking in with Fox News for your research.

Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel was interviewed on the highly regarded (joking) Fox Network by Tucker Carlson, who commiserated with her by saying, “A lot of people in Canada, including those who have been ‘legitimately’ mistreated by the Canadian government could use 10 million dollars.” What does that even mean? Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant did a Facebook video on CNN attacking the Canadian press and accusing it of colluding with the government using the term ‘fake news’ to attack the press.

I have my own biases and one of them involves cutting other women – especially those who choose to serve our country – some slack. But these women set women’s rights and human rights back a big step with this Trump-lite garbage.

It makes me wonder if they think it sounds ‘strong’ to be tough on …everything. My friend and colleague Hugh Mackenzie fell into this trap in his last Opinion column. He suggested that the payment to Khadr made Canada look ‘weak’. Since when did common decency and following the rule of law become weak? It’s an insult often thrown like a giant dart at Prime Minister Trudeau: I consider it a badge of honour.

A small, but I believe significant, event happened on Stephen Colbert’s trip to Russia a few weeks ago. Colbert was showing a young Russian man Trump’s odd-ball hand-shaking style, assuming that he might not be aware of it. The young guy asked whether he would play Trump or Colbert. Once that was established, Colbert grabbed the man’s hand and pumped it vigorously while drawing him closer. The Russian man easily pulled Colbert (Trump) off-balance with a smile and this telling remark, “I am Justin Trudeau!” Colbert looked amused and amazed! The world knows what Justin Trudeau stands for even if some Conservatives choose to believe otherwise.

The Conservative males weren’t blameless either. Peter Kent wrote a south-of-the-border article called: “A Terrorist’s Big Payday, Courtesy of Justin Trudeau.” It read – albeit more grammatically correct – like something Donald Trump would say. Another Conservative MP told a right-wing cable show that it proved that Trudeau was in bed with al-Qaeda based on the decision to compensate Khadr. This is a tinfoil hat level of paranoia.

The Conservative attack is a sleazy misinformation campaign designed for political gain in order to inflame their base. John Ibbitson wrote, “The Omar Khadr affair is for the Trudeau government what the census scandal was for the Harper government: a midsummer meltdown that permanently taints the reputation of the prime minister.”

There is one significant difference between the Khadr settlement and the cancelling of the long-form census: Mr. Harper was entirely in the wrong. He committed an act of “political vandalism,” according to Mr. Ibbitson. Mr. Trudeau paid what the court ordered…. and he offered an apology. People have a right to have an opinion on the apology issue but they don’t have a right to dispute a point of law.

As if the airing of dirty laundry for political gain wasn’t offensive enough, this cheap shot example of partisanship could affect the NAFTA negotiations. Trump ‘likes’ Trudeau, who has played a masterful game of managing Canada’s relationship with the U.S. in spite of how different our free-trading, feminist, environmentalist Prime Minister is from the right-wing, protectionist, polluting nightmare of a U.S. President. But that could change if Trump is re-directed – he has the attention span of a four-year old – by the right-wing cable news channels of which he is so fond. If trade were to slow even slightly, it could have a significantly negative effect on our economy.

Conservatives – of all people – should not want that. The only strategy that has a chance of working in Trump’s art-of-the-deal shtick is to speak as one country and with one voice. But instead of slinking away in shame over the lack of collaboration, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is sticking to his guns, which is why he doesn’t have a hope in hell of ever becoming Prime Minister.

A Canadian journalist reminded us: “The Conservatives would be well advised to follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, who said he made it a rule not to criticize the government while overseas.” He famously added, “I make up for lost time when I get home.”

I have no problem with Canadians criticizing their government or leaders. But do it at home. Doing it in the U.S. media is in nobody’s best interests…not even the Conservatives’.

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Following a career in the hospitality sector and the acquisition of a law and justice degree in her 50s, Dale embarked on a writing career armed with the fanciful idea that a living could be made as a freelancer.  To her own great surprise she was right.  The proof lies in hundreds of published works on almost any topic but favourites include travel, humour & satire, feature writing, environment, politics and entrepreneurship. Having re-invented herself half a dozen times, Dale doesn’t rule anything out.  Her time is divided equally between Muskoka and Tampa Bay with Jim, her husband of 8 years and partner of 32 years. Two grown ‘kids’ and their spouses receive double doses of love and attention when she’s at home. 

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15 Comments

  1. Well said and thoughtful, as usual, Dale! I would only add that if the Conservatives or other Canadians want to air their opinions in the U.S., it would help their credibility if it was ‘fact-based’ — not ugly, hate-mongering, fake news.
    Sadly, prisons everywhere are filled with people who have been abused as children. I can’t even begin to imagine what happens to a young psyche when a father brain-washes a child, takes him to a war zone when he is 9 and then he is tortured, held in solitary confinement and mistreated in a prisoner-of-war camp!!
    It is incredible that Khadr is a such decent human being. The Canadian government did the right thing – finally.

  2. Jenny Kirkpatrick on

    Well put Dale. It is frustrating and demoralizing to witness this slinking over the border to back-stab the government which, in this case, is simply doing what the Canadian Court system has demanded. It is particularly galling given the dispiriting partisan divide / hatred that exists in the US….Please Canada, don’t go
    this route…we are better than that.

  3. Perhaps it was aired in U.S. because it was an American family who lost a Husband and Father..That’s where my ” empathy ” lies, with the real victims. PS : what do you think the odds are he killed others before the U.S. soldier who was, among other reasons, there to help the oppressed abused female opposition? Now there is Empathy ! The hippocrasy is stunning. You criticized others when they spoke against Mr. Selfie after the Federal Election saying it was over yet you still unjustly criticize the Federal Conservative Party…If Donald Trump, likes our lightweight self engrossed PM , I would be very afraid. The final guffaw is saved for your use of the word ” masterful ” in relation to our Emperor who has no clothes!

    • Tony Clement MP Parry Sound-Muskoka on

      Regretting that your defence of Khadr does not include sympathy for the dead Sgt Speer, or empathy for his widow and two children. Why did Mr Trudeau not consider other options other than a secret deal exposed in the summer break, when he could not be questioned by Parliamentarians? Is this the “open and transparent ” leader you seem to idolize?

      • Michael Fedorowich on

        Well put Tony….bring it up in Parliament and have this reversed or make Trudeau pay the money back. Open and transparent does not exist in our government.

  4. Paul Waldron on

    Bill.
    If you join the military and get sent into an area of combat the odds of coming home alive change. You made a choice and others need to live with that choice.
    You seem to forget that many soldiers have died and their family never received a large payout.
    The only difference is that the person who killed the other person is known.
    This was a war zone that the US military involved themselves on the other side of the world and sent their troops into a situation that was known to be high risk. Troops all knew what was going on there.
    Should all soldiers go to a US Court and be able to present a case with no defence and be awarded a multi million sum and demand a foreign country accept the verdict?

  5. Well written Dale. I have to confess that I’m mystified by those who speak about a death incurred during military combat as if it was a murder case. I’m shocked by the lack of regard for human rights and the rule of law which protects us all. I’m with Nancy Osborne. Thank you for taking this well researched and argued stand.

  6. Brian tapley on

    Omar Khadr
    True he suffered in Cuba under USA detention, but here is another way to look at this.
    Right, wrong or otherwise, he tossed the grenade (we are told) that killed the soldier.

    The courts have decided and so they should, that he is due some compensation.

    Now think on this. I’ve worked for 60 years, paid my dues, been a volunteer and so on and I do not have the ability to put my hands on 10 million dollars. I’ve asked many of my friends, who too have worked hard and saved all their lives and for them too 10 million is just a dream spelled “LOTTO MAX”.

    So I have to wonder how the government came up with this number and how on earth they feel justified in paying it to the perpetrator when the family of the soldier who was killed got nothing even close to this kind of settlement???

    This almost makes Trumps “alternate facts” look logical….. One has to wonder.

  7. Valerie Corbett on

    Great article as usual, Dale! Interesting to read the comments! Did you notice each of the women`s comments express a heartfelt emotion and empathy for the young Khadr? The men on the other hand, hardly at all. Generally their interest lies in condemning Trudeau and the amount of money paid out. So Brian, you`ve worked hard for 60 yrs , can`t get your hands on $10.5 mil, BUT you lived in the greatest country in the world and were not raised by a terrorist father!!! I`d say that evens things out!!

  8. Darla Stipanovich on

    I send many of the Doppler’s articles to my family in the states. Think about that for a minute. The level of opinion, and most particularly, the level of researched and critically thought out opinion, most especially by Ms. Peacock, stands as an example of excellent political writing. (Except for that shot at four year olds. I have four year old socks that have a higher moral conscience and intellect than Mr. Trump.) Ms. Peacock, in my opinion as a person born and raised in the states and who fled during a time when we thought we had no choice but to leave or fight and kill in an immoral and unjustifiable war, not only keeps reminding us to be vigilant against the onslaught of slanted, biased and frighteningly false news that shapes the thinking of too many Americans, she rightly chastises those Canadians who for whatever self-aggrandizing reasons would join in the states in hateful, xenophobic Canada-bashing. I am proud of what Canada has always stood for and am enormously proud to be a citizen in this country. But I’m still American enough to hope that our Prime Minister surrounds himself with the baddest asses he can find in this government . He will need them in his dealing with this reprehensible creature leading the states now. God help us if he also needs them to defend our Court’s decisions against his own country men and fellow politicians.

  9. Ryan Vallentin on

    I have sympathy for Omar Khdar, but we (Canada) didn’t incarcerate him for 10 years, torture him, or mistreat him. The Americans did that. We (Canada) should not have paid 10.5 million dollars to him. His family has fought against Canada and the United States and then sought shelter at “home” in Canada. Omar Khdar was too young to fully understand his actions at the time, but why should we (Canada) pay for his family mistakes and the mistreatment by the American authorities?

    Lorrie Goldstein wrote a very informative article describing the events involving the Khdar family, it was printed in the Toronto Sun on July 19, 2017

  10. I certainly respect you, Dale; not only for being 100% correct, but for not getting into a war of words with your Commentary detractors. Has it ever been determined definitively that he was responsible for the death of Sgt. Speer? Why did the Canadian government not have him transferred to a Canadian jail, instead of collaborating with the Americans in his torture? Why should the Prime Minister ignore a Supreme Court ruling? And if Mr. Khadr’s Charter rights are deemed indefensible by so many, then I pity every one of us, who stray beyond their concept of justice.

  11. Hugh Stevenson on

    It seems everyone has an opinion on the Khadr decision. Let’s set aside all opinions right or wrong. They are just opinions. Let’s look at the statement this decision makes. In my mind’s eye it tells all Canadians that in the future, the Government of Canada will not turn its back on its citizens for there are consequences. Consequences whether monetary or embarrassing or damming. This decision will be good for all Canadians from this point forward.

    • Greg Reuvekamp on

      I’m glad to hear the Liberal governments of the future won’t fail in their responsibilities towards Canadians imprisoned abroad, because they sure failed Bill Sampson. He maintained until his early death that the Jean Chretien government, in particular Minister Don Boudria, failed to advocate for him and protect him from torture at the hands of the Saudis. Amnesty International released a report agreeing with Sampson and criticizing the Liberals. It was the British government that secured his release. And there was certainly no multi million dollar payout to Mr. Sampson. I’m not sure why, but I surmise it’s because he didn’t have an extended family of Al Qaeda supporters/ Canadians of convenience like Khadr did. Speaking of the Khadr family, Jean Chretien put far more effort into freeing Khadr’s father from imprisonment in Egypt, than he did an innocent and framed man like Bill Sampson, and the truth of that both disgusts and enrages me.

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