The substantive difference between conservative and liberal philosophies on youth crime really come out when you look at the Khadr case. A difference in treatment of various races also comes out. According to the Harpies, "if you're brown, you CAN'T stick aroun'" (to paraphrase a famous civil rights leader - and judging by comments from their Immigration Minister about South Asians). The Conservative treatment of the World's MOST FAMOUS child soldier borders on wanton disregard and neglect. If children soldiers and their consequent "punishment" are an example of child abuse, you can see where we're going with this... A child, who is twisted into believing something, then sent to war, get's to kill and witness killing cannot defend himself in the field of battle, in jail, or in court.
So how does the Harper "government about nothing" handle the case of a CANADIAN child soldier who has been illegally detained, never given a fair trial, is being barred from a real trial now, may have been tortured, and is without his UN-mandated human rights? They let him rot in limbo. When ADULTs with a clear knowledge of what they were involved in are being repatriated from Guantanimo, just what is the Harper "government" doing? What kind of "caring for children" has this government shown?
This speaks to not only the government's handling of this case, but also how they addressed (non-addressed) the plight of children in Northern villages and reserves, how they stonewalled a national daycare program. Conservatives in Canada only know one way to rear children: through abject terror. Fear of death penalty and corporal punishment in prisons (Conservatives LOVE to fill prisons with youth), and letting poor children in Canada continue to live in 3rd World conditions. If you're a child in Canada, the only way you will be "favored" by this government, is if you are:
1) Home schooled - preferably with a "major" in "intelligent" design
2) Cared for by a "stay-at-home" mom - because they don't believe in working women (and equal pay for women either, for that matter).
3) If not home schooled, then attending a "charter school", like the kind dotting the landscape in Alberta.
4) Not a minority (including First Nations)
The Harper government has shown contempt for international regulations, values, and mores. They have railed against the UN for years, and the recent treatment of Omar Khadr is just a playing out of that fact. Harper and his neoCon ilk have never respected the UN. They could care less about world opinion. This very well could come back to haunt them. Some of the very nations they've been slamming (India and China on environmental issues; China on human rights; etc., etc.), are going to be the very same ones Canada will have to count on to bail us out of the current/coming economic collapse.
The Conservative Bush-whackery and "Bush-mimicry" has been callous and verging on the obscene. This government has yet to employ any sort of "foreign policy" of it's own. Civilized nations have standards for dealing with SUSPECTS of crime (yes, suspects, not convicts yet), which do not include: illegal detention, torture (mental and physical), abuse, lack of access to legal representation; lack of access to families, and the list goes on... Canada has shunned all those standards, and helped take the world back to the dark ages. We will now appear as hypocrites to many, when we try to assert our "moral authority" in situations requiring intervention around the world. We sided with a government (note: I say "government" and not "nation") which had some shady motives, and stood by silently - even "cheer-leading" - when they abused and tortured prisoners, who they refused to identify as "prisoners of war", so they could (in their opinion) continue to hold them and torture them.
Omar Khadr must be returned to Canada. He must be returned to a land where there is still hope for the justice system. He must be returned to a place where his family can testify to what family directives led him to show up in a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and shoot back when he was shot at and bombed. Khadr must be heard as well, so we can further our own national efforts to fight the use and abuse of the child soldier worldwide.
If we think this is a rare occurance we won't have to deal with again, we are sadly mistaken - warlords across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South and Central America know the value of utilizing the blank minds of children for warfare. Canada - as a former defender of international human rights and children's rights - MUST be at the center of the discussion... More so now, as we have been complicit in the fate of one of our very own child soldiers.