[The Federal Court has upheld Galloway’s exclusion from Canada – see Update III below. – DP]
Canada should allow British MP George Galloway to enter the country to speak at peace rallies in Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa and Montreal because “free expression is the matrix of every other freedom,” a lawyer for Galloway told a federal appeals court judge Sunday.
About 150 free-speech and antiwar advocates picketed outside a federal courtroom in Toronto in the rain and later packed the court for an unusual Sunday court hearing. Court officials scrambled to rig up a screen in an overflow room so all those present could hear the case.
Many of the supporters wore stickers on their shirts, which used the “C” of the federal Conservative party logo to spell the word “censored.”
“Mr. (Jason) Kenney (Canada’s minister of immigration) may well believe that they are acting legally, but he cannot quell speech,” Barbara Jackman, a prominent Toronto immigration lawyer, told the court. “This is legitimate political comment. This is not hate speech.” She asked the court to grant an injunction permitting Galloway to speak.
Update: Rob Breakenridge wonders when the NDP and Canadian Islamic Congress suddenly became so flexible about letting controversial characters in the country.
Update II: Hitch weighs in: “The British House of Commons has room for a man as appalling as George Galloway; why should Canadians not have the chance to make up their own mind about him? If Geert Wilders is persuasive enough to get himself elected to parliament in The Hague, is there any reason to believe that the British people are so lacking in robustness that they need to be protected from what he has to say?”
Update III: breaking news: Galloway’s martyrdom is secured:
Controversial British MP George Galloway will not be allowed into Canada to deliver a series of anti-war speeches across the country, a Federal Court judge has ruled.
Earlier this month, border security officials deemed Galloway inadmissible saying he was guilty of providing material support for terrorism.