‘We’re being slapped in the face’: Veterans protest Omar Khadr settlement in Halifax
Veterans made their voices heard at Halifax’s Grand Parade on Friday to protest the federal government’s multimillion dollar settlement to Omar Khadr.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Khadr's rights as a Canadian citizen were violated in Guantanamo Bay. The federal minister of foreign affairs and federal minister of public safety have formally apologized to Khadr, saying the crime he was accused of has no bearing on this case.
But the $10.5 million settlement has sparked outrage for many – especially veterans.
“It's upsetting to every veteran in Canada that's trying to get a new wheelchair, or maybe a specialist to look at their back, or maybe an increase to their prescription because they're having a hard time dealing with life,” says veteran Gus Cameron.
Khadr said Friday that he can't change his past, but he hopes the federal apology will help people see him in a new light.
“All I can do right now is focus on today, focus on the present, and do my best to become a productive member of society, a good person, a good human being,” Khadr told CTV News.
Many veterans tell CTV News that while Khadr may indeed deserve a payment, $10.5 million is simply too much money.
“If they would have gave him $1 million, there would have been upset but we would have rolled with it,” says Cameron, “and we probably would have gone on with it the next day. We're really having a hard time swallowing 10.”
“I came back from Bosnia torn apart from the atrocities that happened over there. I get a pittance compared to $10.5 million,” says veteran Roland Lawless.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation also opposes the settlement. A petition they've circulated now has over 50,000 signatures.
Veterans say the money should not come from taxpayers.
“I fought for this country. My family fights for this country. And I feel like we're being slapped in the face,” says veteran Jay Tofflemire.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.