Friday, March 20, 2009

Canada bars George Galloway

Truly, I just want to enjoy this weekend. Truly, I just want to have fun at the Northern Woman's Bookstore, maybe celebrate Spring equinox and Norouz, just have fun like regular folks do, not think about things that make me mad/sad/furious/outraged ...but what! I made the mistake of reading the Toronto Star online, and what did I find?

Canada blocks outspoken British MP

[please read the whole article, for it details specifics; below is just a bare bones excerpt]

OTTAWA — Canadian officials have denied outspoken anti-war British MP George Galloway entry into Canada on grounds he poses a threat to national security.
Galloway, who was expected to begin a Canadian speaking tour in Toronto on March 30, called the ban outrageous.

Galloway said his supposed support for Hamas amounted to leading an aid convoy into Gaza to break the "illegal siege" following the month-long Israeli incursion in January.

"I led a convoy of 110 British vehicles, more than 300 British citizens, to break the illegal siege of Gaza just a few days ago. Most people in the world think that feeding people under siege is something to be commended rather than something to get you banned," he told the Star in a telephone interview from his London office.

I can not believe our government is so fascist and f#%^&*ed up. After reading about this latest stupidity and injustice of our current f#%^&*ed up Canadian government, I was just furious. Outraged. What sort of country do I live it, anyway? I was so angry, I immediately sent out the link to some friends, the local Peace group, and, of course, wrote a letter in 5 minutes flat and sent it to Kenney, who incredulously, is Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. With a person like him heading this very influential ministry, woe is Canada and any prospective immigrants! His ministry cut $2 m. in funds to the Canadian Arab Federation for their language classes. Woe is Canada. His ministry wrote a letter to the Canadian Arab Federation accusing them of anti-Semitism! Woe is Canada. Empty heads in positions of authority. Wrong-headed people in positions of power. People with narrow minded views that reek of racism, exclusions, and other things better left in the garbage heap of history. Woe is Canada.

Here is Minister Kenney's email to tell him how wrong he is to forbid a person to come to Canada TO SPEAK!!!!

My letter:

Minister Kenney,

I am outraged at the decision of Canada border services, under your auspices, to bar Member of British Parliament George Galloway from entering Canada. Since when is a duly elected--democratically elected-- British member of Parliament a security threat to Canada? If he is indeed a security threat, that means he must also be a security threat to Britain. But how could he sit in parliament if he is a security threat? Apparently, he is not seen as a security threat by the government which our government is modeled on!

It is clear that your decision is motivated by your condemnation of Galloway's vocal support of the Palestinian people and their duly elected, democratically elected government, the Hamas.

Galloway was recently in Canada so in the past he came legally through the border. Now he is a threat after he has been to Gaza to deliver truckfuls of much needed aid to the beleaguered Palestinians? What sort of threat is he? Will he fill my ears with Qassam rockets?

I am shocked at this banning of Galloway. Even the US has not banned him from speaking! How can you possibly defend this censorship that disallows Canadians from hearing what he saw in Gaza, his analysis of the issue? How can you defend that a British Member of Parliament is a security threat if even Britain does not see him as one?


Rockford said...

I don't want to aggravate you even more, but you might want to check out this article by Ulli Diemer on the state of free speech in Canada today: "Free speech - as long as it doesnt' offend anyone" at
And there is also this statement by Jewish Canadians on censorship of views critical of Israel at

northshorewoman said...

Rockford, thanks for these links. The statement by Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel came through my Inbox awhile back and I was glad to see that these Canadians have mobilized to speak out collectively and publicly. I wanted to link to it on my blog but couldn't find the online source, which, interestingly, is Sources! I'm not familiar with that site but there appears to be some interesting reading on it, including below the statement a link to a letter to Kenney from the Independent Jewish Voices regarding his cuts to CAF. I will go and read their blog, too.

As for the article by Ulli Diemer, I subscribe to the Canadian Dimension so I read it in the last issue. But I was really surprised that CD published this piece. It is not up to their usual critically astute analyses. It is a very liberal piece that fails to incorporate a political economy perspective and a critical perspective that engages with the power relations that constitute the field within which these examples of 'free-speech' exist. I actually had writing a letter to CD about this on my list of letters to write! Particularly problematic is this writer's non-familiarity with racialization processes withing the larger context.