Monday, April 26, 2010

George Galloway vs Team Carpet Pee

Just over a year ago, British MP George Galloway was banned from Canada because, in the words of former American Enterprise Institute alumnus and Jason Kenney spokesthingey Alykhan Velshi :

"He is a threat to the security of Canadians. It is actually quite odious and I think it is entirely appropriate for our security agencies to say that if they have advanced notice that Mr Galloway is going to come to Canada to pee on our carpet, that we should deny him entry to the home."

A spokesman said he first heard about Galloway's visit from the Jewish Defence League letter."

Today Galloway's court case to overturn that ban begins in Toronto.

Unfortunately for Team Carpet Pee, in the meantime there have been 'developments', as they say. Despite Kenney's insistance that there was no political interference on his part in the decision to ban Galloway :

Kenney stressed that his political staff never contacted the Canada Border Services Agency – which made the call that the veteran politician was inadmissible under national-security grounds.

"Neither I nor my office have been in direct touch with CBSA officials about it," Kenney said in an interview.

frantic government correspondence between Kenney's office, CBSA, Immigration and Canada’s High Commissioner to Britain about banning Galloway was inadvertantly forwarded to Galloway's lawyer Barbara Jackman. You can read it for yourself in two parts at Rabble here and here.

Also at issue in the case is how newsmedia were able to publish stories about the ban on Galloway entering Canada before he was informed himself :

"... on March 18, Mr. Velshi asked Canada’s High Commission in London for phone numbers of political editors for British newspapers. On March 20, The Sun published an “exclusive” – that George Galloway had been barred from Canada.
Mr. Velshi insisted last week that he did not leak the story: "No. Absolutely not."

Galloway, you will recall, was able to make the speech that so alarmed Velshi, "Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar", to Canadians via video link from New York City, where they are evidently made of sterner stuff and do not share Velshi's view that he is "a threat to the security of Canadians".

"It's all nonsense," says Galloway. "If you want my honest opinion, I think the Canadian government is more afraid of my views on Afghanistan than they were on my views on Palestine."

One of the sponsors of Galloway's proposed Canadian tour last year, the church group KAIROS, subsequently had its government funding cut off later that year for apparently entirely unrelated reasons I'm sure.

Opening arguments in the case begin today. Insert popcorn-munching smiley here.

Update : Laura at We Move To Canada attended the hearing. Her excellent and amusing coverage in three parts here. Thank you, Laura!


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