March 30th, 2009
(Bloomberg) – George Galloway, a member of the U.K. Parliament, failed to persuade a Canadian judge to overturn a government decision denying him entry into the country.
Federal Court Judge Luc Martineau today refused to let Galloway, 54, into Canada to make a speech in Toronto at a forum called “Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar.” He was also scheduled to speak in Mississauga, Ontario, tomorrow, Montreal on April 1 and Ottawa on April 2.
The Canadian government denied Galloway entry into the country earlier this month, accusing him of engaging in terrorist activities with a 25,000 pound ($35,000) contribution to the Hamas government in Gaza. Hamas is a banned terrorist organization in Canada.
“Your material support for this organization makes you inadmissable to Canada,” an official from the Canadian Immigration section wrote to Galloway on March 20, according to an excerpt cited by Martineau. “We have information that indicates you organized a convoy worth over 1 million British pounds in aid and vehicles, and personally donated vehicles and financing to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.”
Haniya became prime minister following the 2006 election of Hamas. He was fired in 2007 by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney upheld his department’s decision last week.
Galloway, who has been in Canada before, is on a speaking tour in the U.S. The Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, which argued on Galloway’s behalf yesterday before Martineau, said Galloway will deliver his speech in Toronto through a live broadcast from New York.
Martineau said whether Galloway’s participation in the convoy to Gaza and financial support for the government make him inadmissable should be decided at trial. Until then, “I am not ready to exempt Mr. Galloway from the application” of Canada’s immigration law, Martineau wrote in his 12-page ruling.
Galloway set up the Respect Party in the U.K. after he was thrown out of the Labour Party in 2003 for urging U.K. soldiers not to fight in Iraq.
The case is In the Matter of the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War v. Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, IMM-1474-09, Federal Court of Canada (Ottawa).