Canada's control of free speech
While the world was relieved last fall from what history will remember as the worst leader to ever walk the earth, Canadians were stuck with the remnants of Bushism with the Harper government. The parallels between Harper and Bush are too many too mention, and the events unfolding in Canada right now are the biggest proof of how we’re still stuck in the age of Bush.
Last week, Immigration Minister Jason Kenny, sent an official letter to British MP George Galloway banning him from entering Canada because, get this, he presents a threat to our national security! Galloway has just completed a lecture tour in the United States, where he presented no threat at all, but apparently he had other plans for Canada.
Galloway who is vocally opposed to the War on Afghanistan, Iraq, and critical of Israeli aggression against Palestinians, has been labeled as a “controversial British MP” in the media. His recent effort to relieve Gazan’s of their suffering was the main motive behind barring him from entering Canada. That and the fact that our right wing government cannot tolerate people who oppose a failing “military campaign” costing Canadian tax payer money, and more importantly, lives.
Today a judge failed to grant Galloway the right to enter Canada, forcing him to deliver his lecture via a live video feed from across the border. Plans are underway for a huge crowd to greet Galloway on another border crossing later this week. A group of Canadian MP’s, lawyers and activists will attempt to escort Galloway into Canada. If their plan fails the “controversial” MP will give his lecture via megaphone, making Canada look even more like an Orwellian state!
While all of this was happening the Jewish Defense League couldn’t keep it in their pants and had to go on boasting on how strong of a lobbying power they have over the Canadian government. Newspapers are now reporting:
A letter – sent March 16 to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, his cabinet colleague Peter Kent and opposition MPs – asked the government to keep that "hater" out of Canada.
"We asked that he not be allowed in," said Meir Weinstein, national director of the Jewish Defence League of Canada.
So what has been Galloway’s response to all of this nonsense? Here are some excerpts from his op-ed in the Guardian.
Kenney is quite a card. A quick trawl establishes he's a gay-baiter, gung-ho armchair warrior, with an odd habit of exceeding his immigration brief. …Most curiously of all, in 2006 he addressed a rally of the so-called People's Mujahideen of Iran, a Waco-style cult, banned in the European Union as a terrorist organisation. On one level being banned by such a man is like being told to sit up straight by the hunchback of Notre Dame or being lectured on due diligence by Conrad Black. On another, for a Scotsman to be excluded from Canada is like being turned away from the family home.
But what are my views on Afghanistan which the Canadian government does not want its people to hear? I've never been to Afghanistan, nor have I ever met a Taliban, but my first impression into the parliamentary vellum on the subject was more than two decades ago. At the time the fathers of the Taliban were "freedom fighters", paraded at US Republican and British Tory conferences. Who knows, maybe even the Canadian right extolled these god-fearing opponents of communism. I did not, however …
The Afghans have never succumbed to foreign occupation, heaven knows the British empire tried, tried and failed again. Not even Alexander the Great succeeded, and whoever else he is, minister Kenney is no Alexander the Great. Young Canadian soldiers are dying in significant numbers on Afghanistan's plains. Their families are entitled to know how many of us believe this adventure to be similarly doomed and that genuine support for troops - British, Canadian and other - means bringing them home and changing course.
To ban a five-times elected British MP from addressing public events or keeping appointments with television and radio programmes is a serious matter. Kenney's "spokesman" told the Sun, "Galloway's not coming in ... end of story." Alas for him, it's not...
To be continued, from another border crossing…