Majority of Canadians say Khadr payout wrong call: Poll

The vast majority of Canadians say the federal government made the wrong decision in settling a lawsuit with former child soldier Omar Khadr and instead apologizing and paying him $10.5 million in compensation for his treatment as a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A new survey from the Angus Reid Institute indicates more than seven-in-ten (71%) are of the opinion the Trudeau government should have fought the case and left it to the courts to decide whether Khadr was wrongfully imprisoned.

Further, most Canadians reject the notion that government officials had “no choice” but to settle – but money appears to be the main source of opposition to the deal. Canadians are slightly more inclined to have said sorry to Khadr than offer compensation, had the decision been in their own hands.

While Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale blamed the previous Conservative Government of Stephen Harper for not dealing with the issue sooner, current Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has responded by calling the settlement “disgusting”. Unsurprisingly, views diverge sharply along political lines. Where past Conservative voters are unequivocal in their views, there is less consensus among those who voted Liberal and NDP in the 2015 election.

khadr compensation

Key Findings:

  • When asked if Omar Khadr has ultimately been treated fairly or unfairly, Canadians most commonly answer that they are unsure (42%); slightly more are inclined to say he’s had fair treatment (34%) than unfair (24%)
  • Two-thirds (65%) reject the notion the Trudeau government had “no choice” but to settle and offer Omar Khadr an apology and compensation
  • The same number (64%) also agree that Khadr remains a “potential radicalized threat” now living in Canada

Link to the poll here: www.angusreid.org/omar-khadr-compensation