Choose your own position

Yesterday during QP, Liberal MP Geoff Regan stood and asked about the case of a Nova Scotia resident languishing in a Spanish prison. In response, Diane Ablonczy stood and outlined the government’s position on the repatriation of Omar Khadr. She later lamented for the House audio system.

All of which wouldn’t have been cause for much notice except for the fact that Ms. Ablonczy’s volunteered comment on Mr. Khadr—”We will respect the agreement between Omar Khadr and the U.S. government”—seems to contradict the position of the Public Safety Minister.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Thursday the minister’s decision about the 25-year-old Guantanamo prisoner’s transfer to Canada will be made irrespective of the deal Khadr signed. “It would not affect the minister at all,” spokesman Michael Patton told the Toronto Star. “I don’t know what’s in the plea deal but it wouldn’t matter because the minister is not a signatory.”

… According to government sources in Ottawa and Washington, the embarrassing exchange reflects a behind-the-scenes uncertainty about the Khadr case, which has divided Canadians for almost a decade and which the Obama administration seems eager to hand over. Senior officials with the U.S. Defense and State Departments met with their counterparts in Ottawa last month to discuss the case, but left without finalizing details.

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