Whopping 71% Of Canadians Oppose Payout To Khadr: Poll

REUTERS/Todd Korol.

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Over 70 percent of Canadians oppose Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s $10.5 million payout to confessed al-Qaida killer Omar Khadr.

A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) found 71 percent of those surveyed said Trudeau made the wrong choice in “compensating” Khadr for the death of U.S. Army medic Sgt. Christopher Speer and the blinding of U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Layne Morris.

Fully 64 percent believe Khadr remains a potential terrorist threat.

Even more worrisome for Trudeau is the revelation in the poll that 61 percent of Canadians who voted Liberal in the last election that made Trudeau prime minister oppose the cash settlement with Khadr.

The poll was conducted between July 7 and 10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent, 19 times out of 20.

Even a majority of people who voted for the leftist New Democratic Party say Trudeau was wrong.

Anti-Trudeau feeing was strongest among Conservative Party supporters, with 91 percent condemning the Liberal government’s action.

Only 29 percent say Trudeau did the right thing while 35 percent said he “had no choice” in the matter.

The poll confirms other surveys that indicate Canadians have little to no sympathy for Khadr, especially when shown video footage of the former terrorist operative making improvised explosive devices that were used to kill Canadian and American troops in Afghanistan.

A July 2008 Ipsos-Reid poll revealed that 60 percent of Canadians wanted Khadr to stay in the Gurantanamo Bay detention center and be tried by the U.S. By 2009, Nanos Research discovere that 45 percent for Canadians had “no sympathy” for Khadr — a number that seems t be increasing.

The ARI survey found that 64 percent of Canadian believe Khadr “remains a potentially radicalized threat,” up from 55 percent just a couple of years ago.

But ARI has found those who believe Khadr “remains a potential radicalized threat” has grown since his release. That number was 55 per cent two years ago, but has now grown to 64 per cent — including a slim majority of Liberals and New Democrats, and 83 per cent of Conservatives.

The poll suggests Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, in his fierce criticism of Trudeau’s decision to settle with Khadr, is on the right side of public opinion — both among his base and in the broader population.

But while Canadians do not agree with the government’s move, they widely believe the affair should have been avoided. According to the ARI poll, 74 per cent of Canadians agree that when Khadr was captured by U.S. forces as a 15-year-old, he was a child soldier and should have been handled like one in the first place.

made the wrong choice in awarding a $10.5 million settlement to Omar Khadr, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.

And while the survey shows that a majority of Liberals and New Democrats are opposed to the government’s decision, how the numbers compare to previous polling suggests that views on Khadr have hardened over the last decade — and that he remains a divisive figure.

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