On CTV's Question Period program this afternoon, Craig Oliver moderated a discussion on Omar Kadhar and his ongoing “trial” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by a U.S. Military court. Discussing the situation were Khadr's U.S. Navy JAG lawyer, Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler arguing for, naturally, the pro-Khadr side. And to argue the opposing viewpoint there was one Scott Newark.
Here's how Craig Oliver introduced Scott Newark:
...a former crown prosecutor and now a security analyst.
Both of those things are true. But there's a lot that CTV didn't bother to tell you about Newark's credentials that certainly seem germane to the discussion, and his objectivity.
For example, in February of 2006, Newark joined the office of the Conservative Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Stockwell Day, as senior policy advisor. He served in the position for three months before joining the famed “revolving door” and going back to his consulting group, Northgate Group, just in time to begin work on a $312,400 contract awarded by Day's department. In fact, Newark was still working for Day when the bidding closed on the contract.
And how did Newark get around the code that “prohibits a public office holder from accepting employment for one year from a firm ''with which they had direct and significant official dealings'' with during the year before they left public office”? Easier than you might think:
But Newark said he avoided contravening the code by simply declining to sign government papers that would have made him a public office holder during his three-month contract as an adviser to Day.
The code defines a public office holder as ''a person, other than a public servant, who works on behalf of a minister of the Crown or a minister of state.''
Newark refused to specify exactly his services to the ministers while under contract as an adviser.
Now that's a helluva loophole in the Conservatives' vaunted Accountability Act. Just don't sign the papers, and refuse to say what you did. Problem solved.
That's just Newark's recent history though, and his strong and ongoing ties to the Conservative government. Before his stint in Day's office one of his past positions was as executive director of the Canadian Police Association. In an essay he wrote in that position for Alberta Report in January 1998, here's what he had to say about charter rights. Somewhat germane, given that much of the discussion was about the rights of a Canadian citizen, Omar Kadhar:
Anything effective in law enforcement will inevitably be forbidden under the Charter [the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms]. As we always say, the charter helps only murderers, pedophiles and judges. This year the Supreme Court decreed, on the authority of the Charter, that the provinces must give their judges pay raises.
[Judicial activism and judge-made law] What we have now in Canada is a supposedly enlightened despotism--rule by people who think they know so much better than everybody else. Well, no thanks. I'm in favour of anything that brings [judges] back under the rule of law--public reviews of candidates, public petitions to force performance reviews of sitting judges, and Section 33 [the "notwithstanding clause"]--every time they do something crazy.
Scott Newark is much more than a “security expert”, Mr. Oliver. And you'll forgive me if I don't give much credence to the views on the Khadr case and his rights as a Canadian citizen of a guy who thinks the charter helps only murderers, pedophiles and judges. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers