By Lloyd Billingsley
July 9, 2017
The Canadian government will pay $10.5 million to Omar Khadr, 30, a Canadian-born al-Qaeda militant who killed an American soldier, Sgt. Christopher Speer in a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan. In addition to the $10.5 million, Khadr will get an apology from the Canadian government. The case marks a stark contrast to the Canadian experience.
When Canadians have fought abroad they have joined Canada’s allies and engaged in combat against Canada’s enemies. My grandfather Lorne Henry Billingsley was with the Canadian forces at Vimy Ridge and other major battles of World War I. He was one of the first victims of German mustard gas attack but never received a monetary award in seven figures.
His son James Richard Billingsley, who recently passed away at 94, fought in the World War II Battles of Groningen and Oldenburg, on the enemy’s home turf. He was wounded in action twice, once by a German sniper, but duly returned to his regiment and fought on. The Canadian government never issued this hero a monetary award, let alone anything in the millions.
Lorne Henry’s second son, Kenneth Billingsley, my father, served in the Canadian Merchant Marine. The merchant navy kept the troops on the ground supplied and without them the allies don’t win. My father’s service left him with respiratory problems but he never received any kind of monetary payout. Indeed, the Canadian government contested my mother’s efforts to get the veteran the compensation he deserved.
Other brave Canadians were captured in battle and held by Nazi forces, in some cases enduring torture. The government handed out medals, but no Canadian prisoner of war got a monetary award in the millions.
Contrast that with the treatment of Omar Khadr, whose father Ahmed was a bagman for Osama bin Laden. Son Omar was not a member of Canada’s armed forces and not fightin g alongside Canadian forces. He trained and volunteered to fight with a terrorist army against Canadian allies from the United States and Afghanistan.
He pleaded guilty to five war-crime charges and after serving some 10 years in Guantanamo signed a deal allowing him to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canada. He was released in 2015 and is now reportedly living comfortably in Edmonton. He will get $10.5 million but a ballpark figure for what he deserves is zero.
Canada’s few remaining World War II veterans would be more worthy recipients, accompanied by an official proclamation of thanks for defeating the German National Socialist regime.
Consider also Kevin Vickers, the Canadian House of Commons sergeant-at-arms who in 2014 shot dead terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had already murdered a Canadian soldier. Or how about the Canadian sniper who recently took down an Islamic State jihadi at 3,540 metres, a new world record.
All these would be better recipients than Omar Khadr. As Michael Friscolanti noted in MacLean’s, “ ;not once does Khadr accept even a shred of responsibility for his lot, consistently shifting the blame to everyone else.”
The Khadr bonus is an affront to Canada’s taxpayers and those who serve in Canada’s armed forces. On the other hand, this loathsome action reveals a deeper dynamic.
The surest sign of a rotten ruling class is the inability to distinguish between allies and enemies, and the refusal to link actions and consequences. The $10.5 million gift to Omar Khadr is certain to boost jihadists’ recruitment drive but will not spare Canadians from terrorists’ wrath.
At least 24 Canadians perished in the attacks of September 11, 2001. A 2016 attack by al-Qaeda in Burkina Faso claimed six Canadian lives and more than 2 0 others from 18 different countries. In April 2016 Muslim Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the Philippines beheaded Canadian hostage John Ridsdel of Calgary and left his head on the street in a plastic bag.
On the bright side, meanwhile, the gift of $10.5 million could help explain why the French Revolution had to take place.