Residents from across the Portage-Lisgar riding recently vocalized their dismay at the Canadian government's financial settlement with Omar Khadr.
Those who gathered at Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen's office in Morden Tuesday for a roundtable meeting on the issue expressed outrage over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's $10.5 million settlement.
Trudeau also issued an apology for the Canadian government's role in Khadr's incarceration and torture while detained at the U.S military prison, Guantanamo Bay.
"You could sense the frustration and the anger from people... that was pretty clear," Bergen says. "They want to know what they can do, 'can we change this decision?'"
While born in Canada, Khadr travelled to Afghanistan with his father, a known affiliate with terrorist organizations. At age 15 Khadr was wounded in a firefight between U.S soldiers and Taliban fighters. During the fight Khadr allegedly threw a grenade that killed an American soldier before being captured and interrogated by Canadian and U.S intelligence officers.
Bergen explains while the Supreme Court ruled Khadr's human rights were violated at Guantanamo Bay, there was no prescribed monetary award.
"It's very disturbing," one resident said, "we don't pay prisoners of war."
Others voiced frustration at seeing Canadian taxpayer dollars used for the settlement.
"It's the first time I'm embarrassed to be a Canadian," another said.
"Common sense has been lost, but I'm not supposed to be angry?"
Others said it's painful to watch veterans struggle to receive needed services, only to watch someone with a terrorist background receive a multi-million dollar settlement.
The response in Morden falls in line with a recent poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) between July 7 and July 10.
Just over 70 percent of respondents felt the government had "done the wrong thing" and instead should've fought Khadr in court, as he was suing the Canadian government for $20 million for breaching his civil rights.
Only around 29 percent believed the government did the right thing, while only 35 percent believed Trudeau had no choice but to offer an apology and financial compensation.
For those upset with the decision, Bergen says the best course of action is holding Liberal MPs accountable.
"I would think, if they're in touch with their own constituency, they will denounce this decision," Bergen says.