Canadian court questions claims against British MP

Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:40pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A Canadian judge declined on Monday to intervene in the federal government's refusal to allow firebrand British lawmaker George Galloway into the country, but it also blasted Ottawa's claims he was a threat to national security.

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley dismissed an appeal of Ottawa's ruling against the former British member of Parliament, saying the court would not get involved because Galloway never actually tried to enter Canada after he was warned he could be refused admission at the border.

Galloway, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, who lost a re-election bid this year, was scheduled to speak in Canada in 2009, but called off his visit when the Conservative government said it would bar him on the grounds of national security.

The government said Galloway had links with Hamas, which it deems a terrorist organization. However, Justice Mosley said the evidence used to support the claim "falls far short of providing reasonable grounds to believe Mr. Galloway is a member of that organization."

The judge said he was not expressing an opinion on Galloway's politics, but said it was clear that the report by border officials that he was a threat to national security was produced in response to instructions from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

Galloway has long been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause and a sharp critic of Israeli policies, and had organized aid shipments to Gaza, including financial support for the Hamas government there.

Ottawa's decision was challenged by Galloway and a coalition of Canadian activists who had had invited him to speak on subjects including the war in Afghanistan, where Canada has troops.

(Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)