Friday, January 26, 2007

Conservative Government set to announce compensation package and apology in the Maher Arar case

He may not be able to go to the States anymore, but Maher Arar will at least be able to put the legal haggling behind him as far as Canada is concerned.

CTV News is reporting on their website today, that the Federal Government is set to announce the terms of its settlement package with Arar, the Canadian citizen who was sent to Syria, where he was subsequently tortured.

The settlement package is expected to provide Arar with 10 million dollars in personal damages and 2 million dollars to cover his legal fees as well as an official apology for Canada’s bungling involvement in the scandalous situation, which saw Arar transferred to American custody, which then sent him off to the hands of the Syrian government.

CTV also reports that the Prime Minister will take the Americans to task over their refusal to remove Arar from their terror watch list, a refusal which saw the US Ambassador, David Wilkins relive the bad old days of American diplomacy where he publicly scolded Canada for its continual insistence on the matter.

For Arar, the money will no doubt be of use, but considering the hell he went through in Syria and the long drawn out road to clearing his name in his own country, the money is probably the least the nation could do.

There is still the matter of having his name cleared in the US, though considering the belligerent tones of the Ambassador one must wonder if Arar would even want to go there even if cleared. (For that matter many Canadians must be wondering if it is worth all the trouble to visit the US anymore)

The friction on this issue, combined with the growing list of other irritants between the two nations, combined with the growing list of other irritants between the two nations is going to se the tone for Canada US relations for the rest of the term of the George Bush presidency.

The Bush administration may wish to take the pulse of their own people on the issue, since it seems that there is some respect for the Canadian position and a desire to see Arar's name cleared.

It will be with interest that Canadians watch how the Prime Minister deals with the intransigence of the Americans on the Arar situation; it could be just the beginning of many more troublesome discussions between the two nations.

No comments: