Galloway Harassed by CBSA, Vindicated by Federal Court – Toronto Immigration Lawyers Indifferent
By Author: Admin | October 17, 2010
Last year, Mr George Galloway a British MP was booked speaking events in Mississauga, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Due to pressure from lobbying groups with goals and dispositions contrary to those of Mr Galloway, Mr. Alykhan Velshi, the Communication Director for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, sent forth a flurry of emails. The content of these messages indicates that Mr. Velshi was worried that Mr Galloway would be able to enter Canada without difficulty, as Mr Galloway did not have to apply for a temporary visa in order to conduct a speaking engagement. A considerable amount of collective anxiety seems to have rested on the likely possibility that the CBSA officer at Pearson would have no idea who Mr. Galloway was, stamp his passport for entry to Canada, and then forget about it.
In order to eliminate its possibility, CBSA instead informed Mr. Galloway that he would be inadmissible. Galloway was furious, and the groups who had organized the event (such as the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War) launched an appeal.
Fairly recently, that appeal was quashed, but in a way that handed the real victory to Mr. Galloway and his supporters. The Honourable Mr. Justice Mosley decided that as Mr. Galloway had not actually presented himself at the border nor sought a visa in any way, there was no decision that could be assessed by the court. At the same time, his derision of the conduct of the Minister’s office was so strong as to make the entire endeavor look foolish. The decision, in his words, was entirely political and based on “scant evidence” from public sources. The official line from CSIS, which would have had the relevant “secret” information had there been any, was that he would not be a security risk.
Mr Galloway was encouraged enough by the result to come to Canada. He landed, spoke, and left. His presence seems to be of little significance to the vast majority of Canadians or Torontonians, except for those who had actively sought him out. From a legal standpoint, his financial support for Hamas was, determined insufficient, in and of itself, to constitute support for a terrorist group.
The prevalent Western consensus has been to allow him entry, and hope he leaves quickly, likely owing to his notoriety, his possession of a British passport and his lack of melanin. As we have seen in the past week, allowing him entry does little, for good or for ill. Denying him entry seems to have caused far more problems for the government than it could have ever sought to “solve.” So why was he banned in the first place?
The decision to deny Galloway was arrived at for the very much same reason Canada lost its recent bid to join the United Nations Security Council: namely, the Harper government’s policy of offering unwavering support for Israel. Diplomats who represent countries self-identifying as Islamic vote as a block, and in this case voted for Portugal. Canada was not voted for because of its perceived support for Israel; the actual factual basis for that perception is largely irrelevant in this case. But to offer other explanations, such as blaming the opposition (as the government did), blaming negligence in pursuing international justice or human rights (the critics on the left), is to foolishly ignore the real issue; when this government falls over itself to deny entry to an orator defined by his support for Palestine at the behest of those who espouse support for Israel, it confirms the simplistic suspicions of the Muslim world that Canada will always favor Israel’s interests over theirs.
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