Omar Khadr v. Nay Myo Hein

The Ottawa Citizen compares and contrasts.

There is a strong argument to be made that Omar Khadr was a child soldier, which makes this government’s treatment of him all the more egregious. The Conservatives have made a few half-hearted attempts to explain why they won’t accept his child-soldier status; most of the time, they’ve simply ignored the question, as if it weren’t important.

Meanwhile, a 25-year-old Burmese man in Saskatoon, Nay Myo Hein, was about to be deported this month when he got the news that two cabinet ministers had intervened to save him. Granting a stay of deportation and a residency permit was the right thing to do. But it raises the question: How can Canada be so compassionate to one former child soldier, and so indifferent to another? Canada shouldn’t merely reach out to help its citizens when the courts decide it has a legal duty, or when there are rallies in the streets. It should follow a consistent, transparent policy.

Fair enough. Unfortunately, the Citizen overlooks the important fact that Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, possesses the power to determine who qualifies as a child soldier simply by looking the suspect in the eye.

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