Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Parsing Conservative Lies

Recently, newly-selected Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer wrote a column condemning the compensation awarded to Omar Khadr for the violation of his rights as a Canadian citizen. Not only did his piece send a message to his base that the animus so regularly cultivated by the party's former overlord, Stephen Harper, is alive and well, but it also attested to the Tory tendency to fabricate and conflate 'facts.'

Fortunately, ever-sharp Toronto Star readers are giving him no quarter:
Re: Justin Trudeau had a choice on Khadr settlement, Opinion, July 26

In answer to federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s emotionally overwrought attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to make a payment to Omar Khadr in respect of the heinous behaviour of several Canadian governments responsible for his illegal incarceration at Guantanamo Bay, I can find agreement with one statement: “Principles are worth fighting for.”

Principles set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to all Canadians. That is indeed a principle worth fighting for.

Sadly, Mr. Scheer and his like-minded followers believe they have a right to apply those Charter rights selectively. This emotional response is the same as that exhibited by the government of the day’s delegitimization/incarceration of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, and the denial of entry to Jewish refugees prior to the war, to name just two examples of demonizing, hate-mongering behaviour of Canadian governments.

Nevertheless, there are many Canadians, I believe a majority, who reject that past behaviour and agree with the current government’s payment to Mr. Khadr.

Indeed, the former Conservative government led by Stephen Harper approved a similar payment to Maher Arar. I do not recall Mr. Scheer sanctioning interviews to discredit the Harper government with U.S. news outlets or writing columns to the Star to evoke hatred against Maher or Harper.

That he engages in this behaviour now reveals his need to mimic the political rants so disgraceful south of the border. It demonstrates that he will make self-serving political decisions that benefit only some Canadians, but not all. Who is next to lose their Charter rights? Be careful, it could be you.

Liz Iwata, Pickering

Andrew Scheer says the Supreme Court ruled that Omar Khadr’s rights were violated and that the Conservatives recognized and accepted that finding.

His inconvenient truth is that the Supreme Court issued its finding in January 2010, and Khadr was repatriated in September 2012. It appears to have taken the Conservatives 2-1/2 years to accept the finding. Khadr then spent a further 2-1/2 years in prison before being finally released on bail in May 2015, after the government failed in a last-ditch attempt to deny bail.

Yes, the settlement was a Liberal decision. But the actions of the Conservative government were a large part of the decision.

Cheryl Adams, Toronto

Although Andrew Scheer has some counterpoints to the Omar Khadr debate worth discussing, he unfortunately leaves out one pressing detail to his entire argument: Khadr was a child soldier and his rights as a Canadian were violated, period.

No matter how much the Conservative Party spins this debate, it’s a strong and valid point that will always rise to the surface.

Bobby Leeson, Brampton


  1. I despair for our country, Lorne, that political discourse has fallen to this level. Scheer cannot seem to set the bar low enough for his purposes.

    1. Every time Scheer and his ilk open their mouths, Mound, they demonstrate their absolute unfitness for public office.

  2. .. what occurs to me, more and more.. is how little information or oversight.. or actual 'control' voters aka the electorate & citizenry of Canada really have about political parties. In particular the so called Conservatives, Liberals & NDP.

    They seem like original six or expansion hockey teams. Of course the fans don't know what the brain trust of scouts, management, coaches etc have in mind.. aside from trying to collect the best talent, or value for the dollar & put an effective entertaining product on the ice.. go deep into the playoffs & ideally hoist the cup. But we loyally cheer for our team, bemoan their losses, buy the merchandise, pay thru the nose to actually attend a game.

    In the case of 'politics' we are presented with the three main teams to cheer for or hate. The 'players' chosen are arranged via secret meetings or witchcraft at the local minor league level ie riding associations and get the support or blessing from the major league level ie a Trudeau or Scheer or some mysterious 'war room' cabal of say a mercenary like Kouvalis, a Jenni Byrne and various bagmen. How else to explain a complete loser like Rob Anders winning or losing the nomination.

    Party memberships are now like hockey cards.. collect all three! Just look at what is happening in Alberta.. an attempt by Jason Kenney, the eternal political opportunist to power grab the Premiership. Partisan mainstream media is in up its pointy ears in politics today. I say politics you'll note, not public service. Yet who eventually gets elected is purportedly.. a public servant. Not a whipped partisan jackass or evangel mouthpiece or big energy sellout.

    We're seeing the end times of the madness or disease.. the GOP were beaten down & embraced, all at the same time by Donald Trump, the Russians, the Koch brothers & Mercers et al, the big energy corporatist lobbyists and sheer ignorance & greed. Of course the GOP is all those entities at once. A huge - vast holier than thou consortium of entrenched, vested self interests.

    In Canada we have a party that celebrates such a monstrosity. Dr Kellie Leitch cleared that up quickly, declaring how exiting Trump's win was! Conservatives would kill to be on air with Sean Hannity or Alex Jones. Its simply phenomenal watching where political parties are headed. Its disasterville for concerned voters but Disneyworld for ignorant partisans

    1. Your commentary serves to amplify a key fact of today's politics, Sal, which is the that it is largely the promotion of self-interest, whether on an individual or corporate level, at the very high cost of sacrificing public interests and the common good. I have no ideas about how to change any of that, but it must surely start with an engaged and enraged electorate who show that they are not to be trifled with so egregiously.