CBA president and Winnipeg lawyer Guy Joubert said Omar Khadr is the only remaining western citizen being held at Guantanamo Bay after the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium and Australia all used diplomatic pressure to successfully push for the return of their jailed nationals.
"We're the last one, and I can't help but think that it doesn't help our image as a free and democratic society when we allow something like this to happen," Joubert told Canwest News Service in an interview at the annual meeting of the body that represents Canada's legal community.
In the second case, the CBA President made announcements concerning the Government's policy approach made public last month concerning death penalty cases. The short of it is the Government has made an ad hoc justification for when and where it will become involved, based on the nature of the crime the person is accused of, and whether or not the foreign government trying the Canadian is democratic, and respects the rule of law. According to the CBA, this is not likely to be well recieved, and is fundamentally flawed.
"The case-by-case approach invites arbitrary and discriminatory decisions, implying that the death penalty may be appropriate for some Canadians," stated a resolution passed unanimously Sunday at the bar association’s annual meeting, which was held in Dublin.
The association argues that if Canada seeks clemency only when it deems a country’s judicial system to be flawed, that denunciation is “unlikely to be well received.”
That could in turn jeopardize the government’s ability to obtain sympathy and co-operation from the government of the country where the Canadian is facing capital punishment, the association said.
An ad hoc approach will also lead to politicians making clemency decisions based on whether the person on death row is getting public and media attention, which will in turn make Canada’s position appear unprincipled, according to association documents.