LORNE GUNTER, Postmedia Network
, Last Updated: 6:31 PM ET
For years, I argued in favour of Omar Khadrs right to return to Canada.
Not because I believed he was innocent of the war crimes that kept him locked up at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a decade.
Unlike the Free Omar cult, I didnt worry he had been a child soldier forced into a war he could not understand, because that seemed unlikely to be true.
When he was captured for killing a U.S. Army medic during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, he was 15 (hardly a child), had taken training at an al-Qaida camp and was seemingly willingly fighting for Osama bin Ladens terror army.
His father had been a close friend of bin Ladens and an al-Qaida fundraiser, using a Canadian charity as a front.
His brother had declared the Khadrs to be an al-Qaida family.
Members of the family had lost their Canadian passports on up to six separate occasions.
Although there were reports Khadr was now a reformed, gentle individual, like many Canadians I was worried he posed a threat to national security if we brought him home to serve out his American sentence in Canada.
But he was a citizen. Like it or not, that meant Khadr had a right to come back, as he did in 2012.
Should Canada have granted citizenship to the Khadr family in the first place? Probably not.
They spent at least as much time out of the country as in it.
But had Omar been convicted of treason? Had legal steps been taken to strip him of Canadian citizenship? No.
None of the things that could or should have been done by Liberal and Conservative governments to make Omar no longer a Canadian were done.
Since citizenship is one of our greatest rights, I saw no alternative than for Ottawa to let Khadr back in to serve out his sentence and, eventually, be released.
He was a Canadian and needed to be treated as one.
For my stance, I was accused of being a bleeding heart, a nave fool and a terrorist sympathizer.
But for citizenship to mean anything, it has to be hard for governments to take away.
Concern by intelligence agencies that an individual poses a national security threat is enough of a reason, but only after due process.
Imagine how meaningless our citizenship would be if the government of the day could revoke it on a whim, a rumour or a suspicion.
However, I am steadfastly opposed to the Trudeau government apologizing to Khadr and paying him $10 million or more in compensation, as they are reportedly set to do.
Why? Because Ottawa didnt object strenuously enough to Khadrs treatment at Gitmo?
Khadr acknowledged his guilt and signed a plea deal, although he later said he did this only to get out of Guantanamo.
But if government cant strip citizenship on a whim, prisoners cant claim innocence after confessing.
For all the outrage the left directs at Gitmo, for all the social media stories about the torture that goes on there, the treatment of terror prisoners is largely exemplary.
Its undoubtedly tough at times.
But detainees have access to lawyers, top-notch medical care, food that respects their Muslim dietary restrictions, imams and facilities for prayer.
It is obnoxious for the Liberals to give up $10 million tax dollars without a fight in court.
And it is indicative of their soft-on-radical-Islam mentality.