British MP denied entry threatens to sue Harper government – ‘I’m not a terrorist,’ Galloway says
OTTAWA – An outspoken British MP opposed to the war in Afghanistan says he intends to take legal action against the Harper government over its decision to refuse him entry to Canada.
George Galloway, the Respect party MP, says he learned Friday that he would not be allowed into the country on speaking tour scheduled to bring him to Toronto and Ottawa later this month.
A former Labour MP, Galloway is a contentious figure whose public support for Hamas and Hezbollah has led to him being accused of being a terrorist sympathizer.
A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed that Galloway would not be permitted entry should he show up at a point-of-entry. Galloway was told he would not be allowed in because border security officials made an operational decision based on a number of factors, according to Kenney’s director of communications, Alykhan Velshi.
Kenney could override that decision by granting a ministerial permit, but that won’t happen in this case. The minister will not “provide special treatment to a man who brags about giving ‘financial support’ to Hamas, a banned terrorist organisation in Canada, or who offers sympathy for Canada’s enemies in Afghanistan,” Velshi wrote in an email.
“I’m sure Mr. Galloway has a large Rolodex of friends in regimes elsewhere in the world willing to roll out the red carpet for him. Canada, however, won’t be one of them.”
Galloway, 58, told the Citizen Friday that he intends to challenge the department’s decision in Federal Court.
“We’ll be in court soon to try and overturn this,” Galloway said. “Canada remains a free country with an independent judiciary. They will have to review whether he has acted reasonably in these circumstance.”
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