Harper and Obama – A little chat – But What about Khadr?

Prime Minister Harper speaks with President Barack Obama on Friday January 23,2009.

Prime Minister Harper speaks with President Barack Obama on Friday January 23,2009.


CTV: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the economy and the auto industry during their first telephone chat since America’s commander-in-chief was inaugurated on Tuesday.


Well, gee that’s great.  I’m glad that the two leaders are talking.  That’s important.  But are they talking about the important stuff?

They discussed the agenda for Obama’s upcoming trip to Canada — his first international foray as president — as well as energy, the environment and the war in Afghanistan. 

Great topics I think – certainly they are on the minds of  most Canadians and Americans alike.  The economic situation, and the best way to survive the storm without any long lasting damage being major.

But one might think that there is another key issue right now.  Maybe President Obama’s signing an executive order on Thursday to shut down Guantanamo Bay within a yearand the implications for Canada? (re Omar Khadr).

Granted, a year is a long way off.  But still.  What’s going to happen with Omar Khadr?  Will he come back to Canada?  Will he be tried in a US court?  The questions need to be answered, and I would hope the Canadian Government is getting the answers.  

Liberal senator, ex-general Romeo Dallaire (and longtime proponent for Khadr’s return to Canada) had pushed for then-president-elect Barack Obama to stop the war crimes trial of Omar Khadr so he could return ‘home’ to Canada.

Well on his first full day in Office President Obama ordered a suspension of Khadr’s military trial – this before the order to close GITMO within at least 1 year.  So are Harper and Obama the ones to talk about this?  Or is that up to Foreign Affairs and the US State Department to work out? Granted, it is only a 12-day suspension, but I think that just means the answer is needed sooner.

But what do Canadians want?

According to a Globe and Mail Poll: Given Barack Obama’s desire to close Guantanamo, do you think it’s time for Ottawa to bring home Omar Khadr?  – 61% (11,113 of people who voted thus far) say NO versus 39% who say YES.  This is only an on line poll, but I find that most of the people that vote on line, especially on news sites are generally reflective of most Canadians opinions.  Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part?  Either way, I do not want Omar Khadr back in the country without assurances that he will go straight to jail, charged as a terrorist, and stay there!

So I hope that after Prime Minister Harper congratulated Obama on his inauguration that the two really got down to business, and talked about the Canadian traitor and terrorist sitting in a cell at Guantanamo Bay.


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