In 1920, ten leaders of the Winnipeg general strike of 1919 were tried in a Manitoba court for conspiracy and sedition. The press maintained that Winnipeg was menaced by mobs incited by foreign agitators, many of them Bolsheviks. Six of the men on trial were born in England, two in Scotland and two in Canada. Among them was J.S. Woodsworth, a former Methodist minister and the first leader of the CCF. There was also another former Methodist minister, and a member of the Manitoba Legislature. Two were aldermen. The Toronto Mail and Empire wrote “that no foreign rabble will be allowed to set aside the public authorities and defy the laws of this country.”
Had it not been for the post 9/11 anti-terrorist mass hysteria comparable to the anti-Bolshevism hysteria after WWI, Omar Khadr would have been quickly dealt with. He would not have been kept in Guantanamo Bay detention camp for ten years. Canada would not have been reluctant to have him back to face Canadian justice.
Ninety years from now people will shake their heads in disbelief about us.
This time, however, The Globe and Mail wrote in an editorial (October 1): “Some day, perhaps, Mr. Khadr will be seen as an exemplar of a mad moment in world history.”