Canadian court upholds ban on anti-war British MP

March 31st, 2009 - 1:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 31 (IANS) A Canadian court has upheld the government’s ban on the entry of anti-war British MP George Galloway for a speaking tour.
The Scottish member of the British House of Commons was barred last week from entering Canada for his links to the Palestinian Hamas group that is banned as a terror organisation in this country. Galloway was to deliver anti-war speeches in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal beginning Monday.

The Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) had told the government that the British MP should not be allowed in as his presence posed a threat to Canada’s national interest.

The controversial MP, who was thrown out of the British Labour Party after urging his country’s troops not to fight in Iraq, later delivered his speech for his Toronto audience via satellite from the US.

Lawyers for the groups that had invited the British MP to deliver speeches in Canada moved court last week, seeking quashing of the entry ban as illegal.

However, the Federal Court Monday upheld the government decision, saying that “the admission of a foreign national to this country is a privilege determined by statute, regulation or otherwise, and not a matter of right”.

The court said the Canadian parliament “has expressly given the CBSA officers legal authority to exclusively determine whether a foreign national who seeks to enter this country is admissible”.

After banning Galloway’s entry, the Canadian government had sent him a letter citing his material and financial support for Hamas during the Israeli blockade as the reason for its action. But Galloway, who was also suspended for 18 days by the British parliament in 2007 for taking money from Saddam Hussein to set up a charity, denied any links with Hamas.

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