Written by Caora McKenna
Across Canada ethnic media are chiming in on the $10.5 million settlement Omar Khadr received last month.
Khadr’s settlement has become a sticking point for some, while others push for it to be a non-issue. Three words came up the most: payout, terrorist, and Trudeau.
Almost half of the stories called Trudeau’s decision a bad one with eight of eighteen stories calling Khadr a terrorist. Four said it was the right decision, and supported Khadr’s rights and the settlement. The third talking point was the Conservative party’s “politicizing” of the issue. For many sources not willing to take an official stance, Khadr was someone who is “seen by many as a terrorist.” How many in fact, is up for debate. The information regarding Canadians’ opinions, as always, depended on who was doing the asking.
Calling Khadr a terrorist gives away a definitive perspective. The outlet’s opinion of Trudeau’s role in the decision also shaped the way they spoke of the issue. Use of the word ‘payout’ more frequently than ‘settlement’ supports the Conservative narrative, and using the word ‘profit’ to speak about the result of the settlement is definitive in its opinion.
What’s being said:
The Chinese media supported Trudeau’s decision. They say that ending the lawsuit was a good decision as it would have cost tax payers more in the long run. A commentary in Toronto’s Today Commercial News says that those in opposition to the settlement are “trying to politicize” the case, and a column from Montreal’s Sept Days says the Conservatives are determined to make it a big issue in preparation for the next election.
Others thought the settlement wasn’t enough. A column in the Spanish Correo Canadiense called the compensation “minimal” and Vancouver’s South Asian Post called out the Canadian media for their “predictable outcry,” criticising the narrative of “convicted terrorist winning a taxpayer funded lottery at the behest of a naïve prime minister.”
Outlets who chose to refer to Khadr as a “terrorist” also called the settlement a pay-out, blaming Trudeau for having poor judgement. The editorial in Vancouver’s Indo-Canadian Times calls out Liberals’ defence of the decision saying “a child is a child, is a child” with a reminder that “a terrorist is a terrorist, is a terrorist.” Caribbean 98.7 FM Mark & Jem in the Morning called Trudeau’s pay-out “above and beyond any court order.”
Italian Corriere Canadese took the opportunity to call for compensation for their own Italian Canadian prisoners from World War II who have seen no official government apology.
The ethnic media also mentioned the press coverage about the settlement in the United States affecting upcoming NAFTA talks, as well as giving attention to the man who saved Khadr’s life, Donnie Bumanglag, who said he did not regret his decision to do so.