Kenney on Galloway: For the record

The minister is sticking to the story that Border Services made the decision, and he’s staying out of it. Here he is at a scrum after QP:


Question:            There’s growing pressure for you to intervene in the George Galloway matter.  Are you going to?  Are you going to I guess change the government’s mind or the decision to ban him?

Hon. Jason Kenney:    Well, I have no intention to.  The Canadian Border Security agents made a preliminary assessment of Mr. Galloway’s admissibility to Canada.  And they determined under Section 34-1 of the Immigration Refugee Protection Act that he would be likely inadmissible because of his material support for a banned illegal terrorist organization.  According to Mr. Galloway’s own admission earlier this month, he provided financial and corporeal support to Hamas, an organization which deliberately targets and kills innocent civilians and is therefore illegal in Canada.  I don’t see why I — we should make exceptions and override the decision of our professional border security agents in making a judgment about the inadmissibility of someone who provides funding and resources to an illegal terrorist organization.

Question:            Those who argue it’s a free speech issue, what do you think of that?

Hon. Jason Kenney:    It has nothing to do about speech, it has everything to do with actions.  It’s not about words, it’s about deeds.  It’s not about his opinions, it’s about his financial, material support for an illegal terrorist organization.  The law is clear and experts will tell you this that anybody who provides material and financial support to an illegal terrorist organization is prima facie inadmissible to Canada.  Our border security agents made that determination and I see no compelling reason why I should second guess them.  If this was simply about, you know, Mr. Galloway expressing his opinions, I’m sure he can do that by publishing his views in Canada, by telling people his views.  His views are no secret.  I think they are odious but certainly in Britain he has a right to express them and if he was a Canadian citizen and he was already here he would have a right to express them verbally in Canada.  That’s not the issue.  The issue has nothing to do with freedom of speech and everything to do with the — maintaining the integrity of our Immigration Act which says that individuals who provide material and financial support to illegal terrorist organizations are inadmissible for entry to Canada.  I think it’s a reasonable law and I have no intention of second guessing the considered opinion of our professional border security agents in that regard.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.