Friday, March 20, 2009
British MP barred from Canada
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Opposition questions ban
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, speaking to reporters after a speech in Winnipeg Friday, said while he’s no fan of Galloway, people can’t be banned from Canada for what they may say.
“If he is being barred on free speech grounds that is an outrage,” said Ignatieff. “He can come to Canada and talk rubbish all day long as far as I’m concerned.”
But Ignatieff said Canadian security officials may know something he doesn’t.
“If there is a security threat, that is another matter,” he said.
NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow said the Conservatives have a pattern of suppressing those who have contradictory views.
“The minister of immigration is becoming the minister of censorship,” Chow told Canadian Press. “We don’t have to agree with everything Mr. Galloway talks about.
“But, at bare minimum, they should be allowed to express their points of view so Canadians can make decisions themselves. This is pure censorship and it’s wrong.”
Jewish groups pleased
Jewish organizations B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress applauded the decision.
“We applaud the government for its explicit recognition that individuals who glorify terrorism and promote hatred be denied access into Canada,” said a statement from B’nai Brith’s executive vice-president, Frank Dimant.
Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, wrote: “George Galloway enables terrorism. In so doing he puts Canadian civilians at risk and comforts those who fight our soldiers in Afghanistan. The government’s decision was the right one from legal, security and moral viewpoints.”
Galloway was expelled from the Labour party in 2003 after publicly lashing out against British involvement in the Iraq war. Labour party officials said Galloway’s comments “incited foreign forces to rise up against British troops.”
He later helped form the anti-war Respect party.
In 2006, Egyptian authorities barred him from entering the country to take part in an anti-war event.