More than 70 per cent of Canadians don't support Omar Khadr's $10.5M settlement: poll
Codi Wilson, CTV New Toronto
Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017 10:24AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 11, 2017 2:21PM EDT
A new poll suggests more than 70 per cent of Canadian voters disagree with the Canadian government’s decision to settle a lawsuit with Omar Khadr and pay the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner $10.5 million in compensation.
The survey, which was conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, randomly surveyed 1,521 members of the Angus Reid Forum and found that seven in 10 thought the federal government should have fought the $20 million lawsuit. Just 29 per cent said they thought the government made the right call.
Last week, the Canadian government announced that Khadr, who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15 after allegedly killing a U.S. soldier during a firefight, would receive the multi-million dollar settlement. The Liberals also apologized for the government’s part in the imprisonment and torture of Khadr, who spent 10 years incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.
In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Khadr’s Charter rights had been violated, a ruling the federal government pointed to when defending its decision.
Shachi Kurl, the executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, told CP24 that the Omar Khadr case has been a divisive one for Canadians for years.
“Canadians were pretty divided two years ago when he was allowed out on bail. Just over half thought it was the right thing for him to be set free with conditions. The other half didn’t feel that way,” she said during a Skype interview with CP24.
She added that in this recent poll, the main issue some respondents had was with the financial compensation.
“The apology for more than half of Canadians is not the issue,” she said. “The issue here does appear to be the money. But we have very, very divided views on this.”
When respondents were asked what path they would have chosen during negotiations, 29 per cent said they would have taken the same course of action as the federal government. About 25 per cent said they would support a formal apology but not financial compensation and 43 per cent said they would not offer an apology or a settlement.
Among past Liberal and NDP voters, four-in-ten said they would have taken the same approach as the Liberals while three-in-ten said they would have offered neither part of the deal.
The poll found that 68 per cent of past Conservative Party voters said they would have offered Khadr nothing and 11 per cent said they would have made the same decision as the Trudeau government. Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer previously called the settlement “disgusting.”
Seventy-four per cent of respondents said they thought Khadr was a child soldier at the time of his arrest but despite this, 42 per cent of those surveyed said they were not sure if he was treated unfairly over the last 15 years. About 34 per cent said his treatment was fair and 24 per cent said it was not.
Although Khadr has rejected the radicalized views of his father, who was a known associate of Osama bin Laden, 64 per cent of respondents said they believe he “remains a potential radicalized threat.”
The poll, which was conducted between July 7 and July 10, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
-With files from The Canadian Press