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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

We have to feel for our fellow Canadians living in central British Columbia as wildfires rage through that part of beautiful BC. Hot dry weather along with the ravages of the bark pine beetle which has left millions of dead trees in BC's forest have created the perfect storm for people living in that area. One only has to wonder if the heat keeps up in Saskatchewan if we will not face some of the same challenges soon.

It's been a long time since I've seen hay crops dry down so quickly. I'm baling heavy alfalfa swaths in less than 48 hours. Many producers in Saskatchewan are going to be faced with a feed shortage this winter if they did not conserve hay stocks from the previous wet years. You can certainly see the damages that are occurring to many other crops that cannot take day-after-day above 30 degrees celsius with no rain. Let's keep our fingers crossed that there is a change in the weather for a whole lot of reasons.

Speaking about a whole lot of reasons....I think Omar Khadr owes Canadians an explanation of what he was doing in Afghanistan as a 15 year old boy who was put in a position by adults to be in the middle of a major conflict no one in the civilized world wanted in the first place.

We Canadians have just provided Mr. Khadr with over $10 million because of his treatment in the now-infamous Guantanamo Bay prison camp which the Americans ran at their base there for captured Islamic terrorists who were supporting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Why this 15 year old boy, raised in Canada, was there supporting the man who brought down the World Trade Centre towers in New York City needs a public explanation in my view.

Mr. Khadr any other Canadian should be protected when other nations subject them to the types of torture Mr. Khadr suffered at Guantanamo Bay. Our Supreme Court has verified that right of all Canadians. Canadian men and women have given their lives in many conflicts to guarantee those rights. I think it is important that Mr. Khadr tell his story so that young Muslims growing up in Canada do not fall into the same predicament because radicalized adults preach hate based on religion.


About 150 Canadians gave their lives trying to stop this hatred from spreading out across the world from the caves and mountains of Afghanistan where a radicalized government gave a safe haven to a criminal like Osama bin Laden. Their sacrifice, in my view, demands this explanation from Mr. Khadr if he truly believes in the values of this wonderful country of ours which now provides him with a safe haven, a safe place to work and a safe place to raise a family. We should have an explanation from him why he now cherishes those values. If that means he has to reveal the role that his parents and other family members played in exposing a 15 year old to a situation where he took other lives, then so be it. One cannot blame the widow of the American serviceman killed in that situation for seeking some recompense for the loss of her husband and the father of her children.

I don't deny Mr. Khadr his monetary reward for the inhumane torture at Guantanamo Bay but I do deny him the ability to sit silent on the issues that led to his participation in a cause which in my view is indefensible. Step up the plate Mr. Khadr so that future generation of Canadians won't make the same mistakes that you did.

Mr. Trudeau still has the ability to make this happen even though the cheque has already been signed and has cleared the bank.

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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons

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