Seventy-one per cent of Canadians believe the government was wrong in compensating the former Guantanamo Bay inmate, Omar Khadr, according to a survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute.
This amounts to more than one-in-seven Canadians who believe the Trudeau government should have kept fighting the case and left the decision to the courts.
Two-thirds of Canadians reject the notion that the Trudeau government had “no choice” but to settle and offer Khadr the compensation.
The report found, instead, Canadians were “slightly more inclined” to have offered an apology had the decision been theirs to make.
Khadr received more than $10 million and an apology from the government in early July for human rights violations he faced while imprisoned in Guantanamo.
Khadr is a Canadian citizen, born in Toronto, who was taken back to the Middle East at the age of ten by his family. His father ended up working for Osama Bin Laden and directed his children to support the terrorist organization. On July 27, 2002, at the age of 15, Khadr was captured by American soldiers during a firefight that resulted in the death of Sgt. Christopher Speer. He was subsequently taken to Guantanamo, where it is reported he was tortured.
As anticipated, the survey found that opinions are divided along party lines. Just one-in-ten, or nine per cent, of Conservative voters, agree with the government’s decision while four-in-ten, or 39 per cent, of those who voted for Trudeau in 2015 agree with the compensation and apology. In comparison, 36 per cent of NDP voters believed the government made the right decision.
According to the survey, 42 per cent of Canadians say they are unsure if Khadr was treated fairly or unfairly since his arrest in 2002; 34 per cent decisively said he’d been treated fairly and 24 per cent reported that he had been treated unfairly.
However, 74 per cent of Canadians believe that Khadr was a child soldier at the time of his arrest and should have been treated as such.
Additionally, the survey found that 64 per cent of Canadians believe Khadr is a potential radicalized threat now living in Canada.
The survey was conducted between July 7 and July 10 through an online survey of 1,521 Canadian adults.