Anti-war British MP denied entry into Canada

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : Canada Friday banned the entry of anti-war British MP George Galloway, citing him as a threat to national security.

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The 54-year-old controversial MP, who was expelled from Britain’s Labour Party in 2003 for asking British soldiers not to fight in Iraq, was to visit Canada from March 30 on a speaking tour of North America.

Galloway, who later formed his own party Respect and won re-election to the British House of Commons in 2005, is known for his open support for the terrorist organization Hamas which is banned in Canada. He is also stridently opposed to the NATO-led war against Taliban in Afghanistan.

Denying him entry into Canada, the office of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney cited Galloway’s support for Hamas as the reason for the Canadian government’s action.

A spokesman for the minister said Galloway’s entry was banned after the Canada Border Security Agency (CBSA) reported that his presence in Canada could be a threat to national security.

The spokesman said Canada would not let in someone who has boasted about his links to Hamas and is openly sympathetic the Taliban. But the British MP, who last visited Canada tow years ago, said he will challenge the ban in Canadian courts.

Speaking to the Toronto Star newspaper from London, the British MP said he was waiting for a written explanation from the Canadian government for its decision.

“It still hasn’t arrived and I think I know why. Because we will be challenging this in the courts in Canada, seeking a judicial review on the minister’s decision, and as he has no basis for excluding me that would stand up to judicial scrutiny, I suspect they’re now scrambling around ex post facto trying to put one together,” Galloway said. Since the US is also on his speaking tour, the MP said he was determined to speak to Canadians.

“I will come to the Canadian border and I will be heard in Canada one way or another. Whether it is by a megaphone across the (border) bridge or through the new technology that now exists. This here-today-gone-tomorrow minister will not stop me being heard by those who want to hear me in Canada,” he told the daily.

Galloway joins some other high-profile politicians who have been denied entry into Canada because of their criminal record. These include Nelson Mandela’s former wife Winnie Mandela.