Glavin: Canada can no longer skirt the ‘international fighter’ problem & More Trending News


‘A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,’ Trudeau mentioned in 2015. A court docket has taken that to its logical conclusion and ordered Canada to carry ‘ISIL households’ house.

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It’s been almost 4 years since the federal authorities embarked upon a technique of elaborate excuse-making and transparently bogus alibis to dodge the implications of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s high-drama 2015 election proclamation that “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” however in the end: time’s up.

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It most likely isn’t the final time the federal authorities will try a deft sideways transfer in the matter of the captured Canadian psychopaths whose care and feeding was conveniently offloaded onto the Kurdish resistance fighters who led the bloody drawn-out battle in 2019 that crushed the final key redoubt of the terror warlord Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s al-Qaida offshoot, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL).

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But the authorities gave it one other shot final week in the case earlier than the federal court docket’s Justice Henry S. Brown, and it didn’t work. It was a reasonably slam-dunk case to the impact that the federal authorities was certain by legislation to safe the repatriation of 23 Canadian detainees trapped in the camps run by the Kurdish resistance in the rebel-held Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

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On Thursday, Ottawa introduced that repatriation preparations can be made for 19 of them: six girls and 13 kids. But in a Friday ruling, Judge Brown mentioned: not so quick. The 4 males are entitled to the similar consideration. The Kurds don’t need them, it’s not the Kurds’ job to be taking care of wayward Canadians, they’re more than pleased to show over the Canadian detainees and the males have the similar rights as the girls and youngsters. They’re entitled to passports or emergency journey paperwork delivered by an official Canadian consultant.

In different phrases, the legislation is the legislation, the prime minister isn’t above it, and Canada can’t simply want away the constitutional rights of the Canadians trapped in Kurdish-held Syria since the siege of Baghuz Fawqani. The federal authorities says it’s reviewing the court docket determination.

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There are all kinds of fascinating debates available about nationwide safety and de-radicalization and encumbrances the Crown might face in securing terrorism convictions in instances with proof obscured by the fog of struggle. But the precept stays: “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.” That’s the slogan Trudeau aimed toward the Conservatives’ Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which empowered the authorities to strip twin residents of their Canadian citizenship upon conviction for spying, treason or terrorism offences.

“I’ll give you the quote so that you guys can jot it down and put it in an attack ad somewhere,” Trudeau mentioned at a city corridor in Winnipeg, “that the Liberal Party believes that terrorists should get to keep their Canadian citizenship. Because I do. And I’m willing to take on anyone who disagrees with that.” It was all very stirring, and the Conservative citizenship legislation was finally overturned.

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But that hasn’t helped the Canadians amongst the “ISIL families” in Syria, despite the fact that none has been lawfully convicted of any terrorism offences, and despite the fact that most of them are youngsters. Avoiding the embarrassment of getting to stay as much as its high-minded citizenship precept has been the Trudeau authorities’s whole technique in these instances.

The first take a look at concerned the five-year-old orphan Amira, whose dad and mom and siblings had been killed throughout the siege of Baghuz Fawqani. Amira made it house in October, 2020, however solely as a result of she’d change into a humiliation to the authorities. Amira’s family members in Toronto had waged a public marketing campaign that pulled at the heartstrings, and she or he was the named plaintiff in a looming court docket case that threatened to crumple what Human Rights Watch known as the Trudeau authorities’s unearned “warm and fuzzy” popularity as a champion of worldwide legislation.

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Just a few months later one other little one made it to Canada. The four-year-old lady was privately rescued with the assist of the crusading former American diplomat Peter Galbraith, who managed to get the lady throughout the border into Iraq from al Roj, a Kurdish-run detention camp housing almost 800 of the “ISIL families” in Syria’s Tigris River Valley. Just a few months after that, Galbraith delivered the little one’s Canadian mom to authorities at the Canadian consulate in Erbil, in Northern Iraq, so Canada had no selection however to take her.

Kimberly Polman is greeted by family members after being released from custody in Chilliwack, B.C. in October. She was repatriated to Canada from a detention camp in Syria after marrying an ISIL fighter, and is free on bail.
Kimberly Polman is greeted by relations after being launched from custody in Chilliwack, B.C. in October. She was repatriated to Canada from a detention camp in Syria after marrying an ISIL fighter, and is free on bail. Photo by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

All alongside, the Trudeau authorities’s excuse has been that Canada has no embassy in Syria, and it might be too harmful to ship diplomats to al Roj, the camp the place most of the remaining Canadian residents are being held. But al Roj is a 20-minute journey by minibus from the Iraqi border on the Tigris River. Aid employees make the journey routinely.

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Things started to alter final yr when two Canadian girls had been formally and quietly repatriated.

The American-Canadian Kimberley Polman, a Mennonite-raised mom of three grownup kids who travelled to Syria to marry a Trinidadian ISIL pen pal, was launched on her personal recognizance in British Columbia on a peace bond that requires her to put on an ankle monitor and adjust to a wide range of restrictions.

Oumaima Chouay and her two kids had been repatriated concurrently, however Chouay was charged with a number of terrorism offences: leaving Canada to take part in terrorist exercise, participation in the actions of a terrorist group, offering providers for terrorist functions, and conspiracy. Three weeks in the past, Chouay was granted bail with circumstances just like Polman’s.

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Among the 4 males is “Jihadi Jack” Letts, a twin British-Canadian whose dad and mom say is an “idealistic” and “compassionate” Muslim convert and sufferer of obsessive-compulsive dysfunction who despises ISIL.

Letts’s household was represented by counsel Barbara Jackman in the federal court docket case. The different males, not named, are represented by human rights lawyer Lawrence Greenspon.

It is just not recognized whether or not Mississauga’s Mohammad Ali, an ISIL sniper, is amongst them. Ali is believed to be the similar “Ali” that the Public Prosecution Service of Canada has already ready terrorism costs towards. The males clearly don’t embrace the Saudi-born Canadian Mohammed Khalifa, from Toronto, who was turned over to the FBI and sentenced to life in jail final yr by a choose in Virginia after pleading responsible to terrorism costs. Khalifa was particularly infamous for narrating a video depicting the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

So by all means, let’s have a jolly good debate about what to do with these “foreign fighters” and their kids. But let’s not faux that it isn’t Canada’s duty to get them sorted.

Terry Glavin is an creator and journalist.

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Glavin: Canada can no longer skirt the ‘international fighter’ problem

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