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A lawyer acting for George Galloway has challenged Canada's ban on the left-wing MP, claiming the conservative administration didn't like his anti-war views.
Barbara Jackman charged in an Ontario court on Wednesday that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's pro-war government falsely and unfairly labelled Mr Galloway a terrorist because it didn't like his views on the Israel-Palestine conflict and Nato's deeply unpopular occupation of Afghanistan.
All the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow did was provide humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, Ms Jackman observed.
In March 2009 Mr Galloway was scheduled to embark on a four-city Canadian speaking tour. But at the last minute he was told that he was inadmissible on security grounds.
The Canada Border Services Agency cited his involvement in the Viva Palestina aid convoy last spring that delivered clothing, medical items, relief money and vehicles to war-torn Gaza, and his donation of £30,000 to the elected Hamas government.
Mr Galloway was allowed into New York City at the time, where he addressed Canadian audiences via a video link.
Government lawyer Marie-Louise Wcislo responded to Ms Jackman by saying that Ottawa deems Hamas to be a terrorist organisation.
And Ms Wcislo noted that under Canadian law, collecting funds or giving support to a terrorist organisation is one of the conditions of membership to such an organisation.
"It's clear Canadian aid was going into Gaza, so it's all right for our government to do it but not for Mr Galloway?" Ms Jackman shot back.
"If in fact Mr Galloway is a terrorist because he provided humanitarian aid to the government of Gaza, then our prime minister is as well."
Justice Richard Mosley is to decide whether Mr Galloway should be admitted into Canada pending a judicial review of the government's refusal to grant him entry.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is under mounting pressure to resign for allegedly abusing his power in the affair.
A flurry of internal government emails in the run-up to the ban confirm that Mr Kenney's office was clear in its opposition to the 2009 visit, with his spokesman Alykhan Velshi writing that the minister would not overturn the ban given "the kind of things George Galloway advocates."
Mr Galloway, who has described the ban as "outrageous," is preparing to return to Gaza with another shipment of humanitarian aid on May 15.
Source: Morning Star