Majority of Canadians oppose Khadr's return: Poll
Omar Khadr is seen in this 2010 courtroom sketch. Janet Hamlin Sketch
OTTAWA - The Tories will be at odds with the majority of Canadians - and almost 70% of their supporters - when they eventually allow convicted terrorist Omar Khadr back into Canada, a new poll shows.
The Abacus Data survey into public opinion on Khadr, who pleaded guilty in 2010 to war crimes committed in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old, suggests 53% of Canadians view him as a security threat and shouldn't be allowed back into the country.
The Toronto-born Khadr, now 25, has been jailed at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since he was captured in battle after killing U.S. combat medic Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer with a grenade.
"This might be an issue where the law and legal requirements don't match up with public opinion," Abacus CEO David Coletto said Thursday.
Khadr signed a plea deal in 2010 that required him to serve eight years of a 40-year sentence. The Canadian government agreed at the time to look favourably on his transfer back to Canada after one year.
But just 13% of Canadians strongly support his return while 32% are strongly opposed.
"The intensity of opposition is much greater than the intensity of support," Coletto said. "You see the same trend and pattern right across the country."
And while the bulk Conservative supporters tend to be against Khadr's return, a full 46% of New Democrat voters and 41% of Liberal voters are also balking at his return.
The paperwork for Khadr's return is on Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' desk, but he has yet to set a date for his eventual transfer.
Abacus Data conducted its online survey of 1,008 randomly selected adults May 15 and 16.
Using traditional polling methods, a survey of that size would be accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.