Take Omar Khadr – please!

OK, OK, I am getting fed up with hearing about the Khadr family and I am pretty sure I am not alone in this.  Canada’s #1 Al Qaeda-supporting clan has been a pain in the ass for decades and I for one just want them to go away – literally if possible.  They have become the Canadian version of the Kardashians – famous for being infamous.

Except that they won’t go away.  

Omar Khadr – child soldier or terrorist, take your pick (I know where my vote lies) – is in the news AGAIN.  Now he wants to get a Canadian passport and to speak to his sister Zaynab who is somewhere outside Canada doing whatever Zaynab does (publicly support terrorist causes as she did so often in the past?  The CBC described her as ‘controversial’ – now there is an understatement!!).  Mr. Khadr says he needs a passport to go to Saudi Arabia to do the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage which is one of the five obligations under Islam.

Is that why he wants a travel document?  Maybe, but that does not mean he should get one.  It is a myth that obtaining a Canadian passport is a Charter right.  This was taken from the Government of Canada official Web site:

  • The denial of passport services is a significant measure. Passport refusal or revocation occurs only when there is sufficient reliable information available to justify the action. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has the authority to refuse to issue, cancel or revoke a Canadian passport as well as the authority to deny the delivery of passport services. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has the authority to decide that a passport is not to be issued, is to be cancelled or is to be revoked, as well as the authority to decide that passport services are not to be delivered in cases of national securityy and the prevention of terrorism offences.

So if the government has sufficient information to suggest that Mr. Khadr still has ties to terrorism it has the right to deny his passport.  This power is not exercised often to the best of my knowledge, but the state must retain it in cases where there are reasonable grounds to suspect terrorist activity.

As to whether Mr. Khadr should be allowed to contact his sister without supervision that too is not clear. Yes she is family but yes she was, and still may be, a supporter of terrorism.  Why would Omar want to reconnect with her? Is this not the same as giving a recovering alcoholic a bottle of rye or a recovering drug addict fentanyl?  Does the state not have a vested interest in denying a (former) terrorist access to an existing one?  I believe it does.

I do not know the conditions of the original passport ban or denial of unsupervised contact with Zaynab or whether these have expiry dates.   Regardless, the government has every right to keep tabs on Mr. Khadr and issue restrictions in light of his past and that of his family.

Mr. Khadr claims to be getting on well: he has married, he wants to work as a nurse and he says he is a ‘happy and proud Canadian’.

Great.  Now do the typical Canadian thing and stop hogging the limelight Mr. Khadr.  Just go away – and take your family with you.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

Leave a Reply