Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Khadr Video Doesn't Sway Opinion

A new Angus-Reid poll compares reactions to Omar Khadr's situation, before and after the now famous video. It's an interesting comparison, results from the beginning of July, to one's done July 18/19 show some change in terms of sympathy, but not much else. Canadians are still divided:
38% want Khadr to face trial in Guantanamo Bay (=), 38% would repatriate him to Canada (+1), 24% are unsure (-2)

􀂾 32% (+3) believe Khadr will get a fair trial in Guantanamo Bay; 41% (-2) disagree

􀂾 36% (+5) feel sympathy for Omar Khadr's plight, 41% (-5) do not

Not surprisingly, Conservatives tend to have a different opinion than supporters of the other parties:
When the results are assessed by political allegiance, a majority of respondents who would vote for the governing Conservative Party in the next federal election want Khadr to stay in Guantanamo (62%), think that he will get a fair trial (55%), and feel no sympathy for his plight (63%).

Conversely, at least 46 per cent of supporters of the four main federal opposition parties believe Khadr should be repatriated, at least 49 per cent believe his trial in Guantanamo will not be fair, and at least 40 per cent feel sympathy for his plight.

It would seem the video has slightly increased sympathy for Khadr, but the change is hardly eye popping. I suppose I am slightly surprised, given this video was Canadians first real opportunity to hear Khadr, within an environment that would seem naturally supportive. The fact the overall numbers haven't moved probably gives the Harper government little motivation to change their stance, just one finding, but little evidence of mounting pressure.


Anonymous said...

The trouble for Harper is in not bringing him home, its if he's found guilty! Whats surprising is that there are a large percentage of Canadians who want Omar brought back home where he will be held for another 4 or 5 years until his case is ready to be tried. His court case is in October. The US Congress has instituted a new set of rules regarding time lines. By late October we should find out the results of the case. If he's found guilty, thats when Mr Harper is going to have a very difficult decision....or Mr Dion. This was a no win situation for Mr Chretien, and, its a landmine for either Harper or Dion. billg

FredM said...

well maybe more people would change their minds if they seen the video of him on 60min making bombs and dated the day before the attack.

Oxford County Liberals said...

The kid's been brainwashed since he was 9, and he falls under the child solder protocol that we've signed. It doesn't matter how many Canadians feel this or that - it is our moral duty to repatriate him, our legal and constitutional duty to give him a fair trial (unlike what he will get at Guantanamo), and our international duty to treat him as what he is - a child solder who needs rehabilitation, as those thousands of child soldiers have happened to them in Rwanda and Sierra Leone and other parts of Africa.

Skinny Dipper said...

If Khadr is found guilty by the Gitmo military court, he will be found guilty by a kangaroo court. It's not a kangaroo court because it's a military court; it's a kangaroo court because Khadr has already been presumed guilty. The only thing that is needed is an official seal of approval of his guilt by the court. It's also a kangaroo court because even regular US military soldiers would never have to face the same kind of rules if they are on trial.

For those who would like Omar Khadr to rot in jail, let us not assume his guilt. There are too many Canadians whom we have assumed to be guilty even when they were found not guilty in the long run--Marshall, Morin, Milgaard. Khadr needs to be treated fairly not for his sake, but for ours. He's not getting fair treatment in Gitmo.

Steve V said...


I'd rather focus on Scott's point, than try to paint Khadr in the "Milgaard" light. Presumed innocent sure, but from what I've heard and seen, feeble defence aside, I don't really dispute the "alleged" events. That's my take, but that doesn't speak to the issue of a child soldier. As Scott mentions, it's no different than Sierra Leone, kids we seem to have more sympathy for, for some reason. It also doesn't speak to the legal responsibilities for Canada.

Anonymous said...

interesting - the right wingers think it's okay to have kids wearing White Supremecy stuff - freedom of speech and a parent's right to bring up their kids anyway they want...but, hey, no sympathy for Kadhr who was brainwashed......

What do they think will happen to these kids brought up a White Supremecists?

I say - deport his family and let him come home for trial, prison or help for the brainwashing.

Greg said...

Presumed innocent sure, but from what I've heard and seen, feeble defence aside, I don't really dispute the "alleged" events.

A medic died and Khadr was there, but aside from that, I would say that the prosecution's case is pretty shaky. There is evidence apparently that Americans themselves were still tossing around grenades when the medic was killed. Just ask the Tillman family how quick the U.S. military is to admit mistakes of that kind.

That aside, I suspect the Harper government's plan is to make a grand gesture of repatriating Khadr after he is convicted and promising never to release him until he draws his last breath. I am sure the decision will be appealed and they will lose in court -- thus giving them another reason to slam our courts and raise more money from the base.

H said...

Canada's abandonment on Khadr is especially disappointing. There is a petition to ask that the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, protect his citizens here: http://go.care2.com/15898432