(updated) victory for free speech and sanity: federal court slams government interference in galloway ban

See update below.

The media is trying to sell this as a defeat for Galloway and his supporters. It is anything but.

Subject: Federal Court slams government interference in Galloway ban
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday, September 27, 2010

Federal Court slams government interference in Galloway ban
Former British MP to announce plans to return to Canada

Toronto – Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley issued a 60-page ruling today that slams the federal government for attempting to ban former British MP George Galloway from entering Canada. The ruling vindicates Galloway and his Canadian supporters who argued that Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney made a political decision to try to keep Galloway out of Canada, not one based on national security claims.

According to Justice Mosley, “the main reason why the respondents [the Federal government] sought to prevent Mr. Galloway from entering Canada was that they disagreed with his political views.”

The ruling also refutes government claims that Galloway’s humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza made him a national security risk: “From the evidence on the record, the question of Galloway’s admissibility was never an issue of national security… CSIS was consulted prior to the writing of the CBSA assessment and had no national security concerns about his visit.”

The ruling exposes how staff in Jason Kenney’s office attempted to ban Galloway from Canada, although no final decision had been made: “It is also clear that the preliminary assessment was prepared with the intention that it be used to justify a CBSA officer’s determination that Mr. Galloway was inadmissible should he appear at the border.”

Galloway’s Canadian supporters are claiming victory.

“This ruling confirms what we have been saying from the beginning: Jason Kenney attempted to ban Galloway because he disagreed with his views,” says James Clark, a member of the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War and an applicant in the case. “This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable in a democratic society, and represents a serious attack on Canadians’ free speech rights. We are pleased that the Court agrees with us.”

Galloway and his supporters will announce in the coming days the details of an upcoming speaking tour that will bring Galloway back to Canada.

* * * *


I was involved in a discussion on Facebook about whether or not this ruling can be considered a full or partial victory for our side. James Clark said:
The fact the judge dismissed the application actually works in our favour, because he also argued that any negative decision at the border to bar Galloway (then or in the future) could only be seen as biased and the result of obvious and documented political interference - what we've been saying all along. This means the path is clear for Galloway to come to Canada. Stay tuned for dates...

The bulk on the 60-page ruling, by the way, is a sharp criticism of the government's role in trying to ban Galloway. The judge agreed with us that the ONLY motivation to keep Galloway out was a political one: the government tried to ban someone it disagreed with. Welcome to free speech, Harper-style.

The decision also vindicates Galloway by stating in no uncertain terms that the government went too far in trying to label Galloway a terror support. The court said definitively: humanitarian aid is NOT support for terror. Galloway's aid to Gaza is just, fair and legal.

This case will have lots of legal repercussions on many fronts, all good for the movement.

No comments: