By Ryan McGreal
Published June 04, 2009
In keeping with its recently discovered contempt for expatriate Canadians, the Harper government is now saying that "States do not have a duty to protect citizens held by foreign countries".
Canada's legal duty to protect its citizens, even children, ends at the border and there is nothing in domestic or international law that obliges the government to seek Omar Khadr's repatriation, say federal arguments filed in court.
The government contends it has done plenty to ensure the "well-being" of the Guantanamo Bay detainee - from supplying him with magazines to ensuring he receives medical treatment and facilitating contact with his family - and any further protection is at the discretion of the state, not the courts.
The written arguments were submitted to the Federal Court of Appeal for the government's challenge to a landmark April ruling that ordered Canada, for the first time, to seek repatriation of a citizen held by a foreign power. The appeal has been expedited and a hearing is set for June 23.
Get this: the goverment is appealing a court order to seek the repatriation of a Canadian citizen being held by our closest ally who was picked up when he was still a minor, has been physically and psychologically tortured at the hands of his captors, and has never actually faced any kind of a trial in the seven freaking years he has been held by the US government.
What in the name of all that's decent and recognizably sane is wrong with these people?
A soulless government lawyer actually typed up the following statement on the behalf of a soulless government:
The judge erred by transforming obligations to respect the rights of children within Canada into a new duty to protect Canadian children subject to mistreatment by foreign officials outside the territory of Canada.
I'm ashamed to be represented by this government. For all the dastardly, mendacious and hyper-partisan acts of our Prime Minister and his cabinet, their vile abandonment of the most basic rule of law in defending a Canadian citizen - a child, no less - is just unconscionable.