You can read more of what Galloway thinks of this situation here in The Globe and Mail. Let the man speak in this country. We let that lych Coulter in, didn’t we? At least mavericks make people think, make them step outside of their controlled little opinions. We need more mavericks, more overlapping, dissonant voices – perhaps then we’d consider that the truth is not a simple monolithic viewpoint that can be delivered by drivetime DJs and the evening news. No, you’ve got to work for it. But don’t take us at our word – find out for yourself.
Flashback: George Galloway: leaked papers reveal Canada’s torment over banning MP | Conservatives cracking down on criticism of Israel, NGOs warn | Watchdogs describe coming ‘under attack’ by Conservative government | George Galloway, on aid mission to Gaza, is deported from Egypt | Fury grows over Tory anti-Semitism charge levelled against Canadian churches | Federal website changes undermine Iraq resisters: critics | UK MP George Galloway takes Canadian speaking ban to court | UK Anti-war MP banned from Canada | Kenney’s comments prejudice hearings for war resisters, critics say
April 26, 2010
Controversial British MP George Galloway will have to wait until Wednesday to try to have his ban from visiting Canada overturned in Federal Court.
Galloway’s lawyers were to present their client’s position Monday, but the hearing was adjourned after one of his lawyers hurt herself in a fall earlier in the morning.
When Galloway was denied entry to the country in early 2009, the federal government said it was because of his support of Palestinian militant group Hamas. But the MP and his supporters believe he was barred because the Conservatives didn’t want him to deliver an anti-war message.
Leading up to the scheduled court hearing, supporters on both sides of the dispute gathered in front of the courthouse in downtown Toronto. Anti-war demonstrators and freedom-of-speech advocates were protesting on the north side of Queen Street West on Monday morning, while representatives of the Jewish Defence League protested on the south side.
Galloway will not appear in the Toronto court himself because of the ban. Instead, his lawyer is expected to cite emails from within the office of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, claiming they show it was Kenney, and not the Canada Border Services Agency, who wanted him kept out.
In one email, obtained by CBC News, an immigration official suggested asking the CBSA to carry out a quick inadmissibility assessment and proposed grounds on which Galloway might be turned away.
“It’s quite clear from the leaked documents that this was a highly politicized intervention, abusing the immigration laws to silence a political critic,” Galloway told CBC News.
“We are concerned whether or not the minister acted based on his political views, whether the decision in that respect is biased,” said one of his lawyers, Haydat Nazami.
Minister denies involvement
Kenney denies the allegation, saying “neither [he] nor [his] office had any communication with the CBSA on [the Galloway] case nor any other case.”
“Those things are done independently,” Kenney said. “Admissibility assessments are made by the officials of the CBSA, not by the ministry, or immigration, or the minister of immigration.”
Galloway was scheduled to begin a four-city speaking tour when he was denied entry to Canada. He was rejected under Section 34(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which bars those who provide material support for terrorist groups, including Hamas, to which he had given $45,000 in relief money. [Ed. Note: Hamas, incidentally, is the elected leadership of Palestine. Galloway gave the money, he claims, to the Ministry of Health in Gaza to pay the unpaid salaries of doctors and nurses in the territory. It does seem a little rich, not to mention disingenuous, to equate this with supporting Hamas.]
Galloway, a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, said he donated the money to help Palestinians and denied supporting Hamas.
“If I can be called a terrorist, the word terrorism has no meaning,” Galloway told CBC News.
Instead, he suggested, he was banned because the Conservative government did not want him to voice his staunch opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Expelled from party
A member of the British Parliament since 1987, Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party by former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2003 partly because he suggested in a television interview that Blair and then U.S. President George W. Bush were acting “like wolves” in their invasion of Iraq.
The ban forced Galloway to complete his speaking tour by video link from the United States, which allowed him entry.
If the ban is overturned, he would pause only to pack a toothbrush and a clean shirt before returning to Canada, he said.
Galloway represents the left-wing Respect Party in the constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow in Greater London. He is running to represent a neighbouring constituency, Poplar and Limehouse, in Britain’s upcoming election on May 6.
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