Vic Toews: Still not ready to say yes

Three months after first receiving Omar Khadr’s application to return to Canada—and 21 months after the Harper government assured the American government that it was inclined to look favourably upon such an application—Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he needs more information.

In a formal letter sent Thursday to both U.S. defence secretary Leon Panetta and Khadr’s Toronto lawyer, John Norris, Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews states that in order to have Khadr sent back to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canada, officials north of the boarder must be given access to sealed video footage of separate interviews with Khadr that were carried out by two psychiatrists during the lead-up to Khadr’s trial in 2010.

Toews also stated complete reports from Dr. Michael Welner and Dr. Alan Hopewell have not been supplied to Correctional Service of Canada and the parole board, and that both are required to administer Khadr’s sentence in Canada, according to sources familiar with the letter.

As Jonathan Kay notes, there are questions about the involvement of Dr. Welner in this case. Reg Whitaker’s review of Ezra Levant’s book on Omar Khadr is here. Ezra Levant’s response to Whitaker’s review is here. More on Dr. Welner’s testimony herehereherehere and here.

The CBC recently interviewed both Dr. Welner, who worked for the prosecution in Mr. Khadr’s case, and Dr. Stephen Xenakis, who worked for the defence.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.