Toronto : An anti-war British MP, barred from Canada for his links to the Palestinian group Hamas, is likely to sue the Canadian government for damages.
George Galloway, who was thrown out of the British Labour Party for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq in 2003 and is currently an independent MP, was to visit three Canadian cities for a speaking tour next week.
But the Canadian government banned his entry on grounds of his links to Hamas which is banned here as a terrorist organisation.
The lawyers for the maverick MP, who is currently in the US, said Thursday that apart from challenging the ban in court, Galloway will also file a civil suit to seek damages by Canada for labelling him a terrorist supporter.
“I know for a fact that he had consulted with lawyers and they told him he has grounds,” Toronto lawyer Hadayt Nazami, who is on Galloway’s legal team, was quoted as saying in the local media.
Under Canadian immigration laws, anyone supporting a terror organisation or engaging in terrorism can be banned from entering the country. Since his lawyers maintain that the MP never supported Hamas, they conclude the Canadian action is tantamount to declaring Galloway a terrorist.
The Canadian government action is based on reports that Galloway took humanitarian relief to Gaza and gave $45,000 to the Hamas government during the Israeli blockade.
For his criticism of Israel and his links to Hamas, the Canadian Jewish groups have mounted pressure on the government not to let Galloway in. But the British MP has twice won defamation suits in similar cases – one against a British radio station for labelling him anti-Semite and another against a British newspaper for alleging that Galloway profited from the Saddam Hussein regime.
The supporters of the British MP maintained Thursday that he will definitely try to enter Canada from the US where he is currently on a speaking tour.