From Toronto Coalition to Stop the War:
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Defend free speech.
Let George Galloway into Canada.
Stop Jason Kenney's attack on civil liberties.
By now you will have heard that Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, has banned British MP George Galloway from entering Canada. Galloway is scheduled to speak in four cities during a pan-Canadian speaking tour from March 30 to April 2.
Kenney's decision to ban Galloway is an unprecedented attack on free speech and on the right to criticize our own government's foreign policy. Kenney's office has publicly stated that Galloway will be banned because of his views on the war in Afghanistan and because he represents a "threat to national security".
The ban follows Kenney's recent attacks on Canadian Arab and Muslim organizations and on Palestine solidarity campaigners for their criticism of Israel's war on Gaza and its treatment of Palestinians. In the last few days, Kenney unilaterally cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation for its immigrant settlement program. Kenney also recently attacked students organizing Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses across Canada.
Kenney has attempted to silence their voices by accusing them of anti-Semitism, despite the wide range of support and participation of Jewish organizations and individuals in these Palestine solidarity events.
The organizers of Galloway's speaking tour the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, the Ottawa Peace Assembly, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights condemn in the strongest terms Kenney's attack on free speech and our right to criticize our government's foreign policy. We call on all supporters of civil liberties to join us in challenging these attacks and in reversing Kenney's ban.
In the next few days, we will launch a pan-Canadian campaign to defend free speech in Canada and to reverse Kenney's ban. We call on you to join in this campaign to ensure Galloway's entry into Canada. We must organize now to ensure that all events where Galloway is scheduled to speak will proceed as planned.
Supporters should continue to buy tickets for these events and to promote them widely.
To that end, we urge you to take the following steps:
1) Contact Jason Kenney's office to condemn the ban and to demand its immediate reversal:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Phone: 613-992-2235 (Ottawa office); 403-225-3480 (Calgary office)
Fax: 613-992-1920 (Ottawa office); 403-225-3504 (Calgary office)
2) Join an emergency city-wide organizing meeting in Toronto to defend free speech and to reverse the ban:
Sunday, March 22
3:00pm to 5:00pm
Ryerson Student Centre
55 Gould Street
This organizing meeting will take place during the closing session of the Student Assembly against War and Racism, scheduled to take place from Friday, March 20 to Sunday, March 22 in the same location (www.unitedagainstwar.ca). Anti-war delegates from across the country will be present to participate in developing a pan-Canadian campaign to defend free speech and to reverse the ban on Galloway.
3) Are you on facebook? Join the facebook group: Let Him Speak: Allow George Galloway to Speak in Canada:
[L note: There is also this group:
4) Buy tickets for the Galloway events in Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal and Ottawa.
Help us promote these events. Spread the word widely. Ticket information for each city is available at www.nowar.ca and www.acp-cpa.ca.
5) Forward this e-mail across all your lists to build the biggest response possible.
If Kenney does not reverse his ban, a delegation of Canadian MPs, lawyers, peace campaigners, and civil liberties advocates will travel to the US to escort Galloway across the border on the day of his scheduled arrival to Canada.
We will join with Galloway in publicly defying Kenney's attack on free speech, civil liberties and the peace movement.
Please spread the word about Sunday's meeting. If you are outside Toronto and would like to get involved, please contact us:
Web: www.nowar.ca or www.acp-cpa.ca
Campaign materials will be ready following Sunday's organizing meeting in Toronto for local organizers to distribute across the country.
Together, we will defend free speech and civil liberties.
And one way or another, we will bring George Galloway to Canada!
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Ottawa Peace Coalition
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights