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Canadians will hear British MP despite Federal Court ruling

British anti-war MP George Galloway is being heard by Canadians tonight despite today’s Federal Court ruling that upheld the decision to bar him from the country.

Galloway’s speech from New York will be broadcast by live feed in 20 cities, including Vancouver, said Sid Lacombe, national coordinator of the Canadian Peace Alliance.

Justice Luc Martineau today upheld the decision by the Canadian Border Services Agency that denied the MP entry into the country.

Galloway received a letter earlier this month from the High Commission of Canada advising him that based on an assessment by the CBSA, he would likely not be allowed into Canada.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney refused to intervene and overturn the ban.

In his ruling, Martineau cited the letter which informed Galloway he was being denied based on reports he was part of an aid convoy delivering material and financial assistance to Gaza:

“Hamas is a listed terrorist organization in Canada. There are reasonable grounds to believe you have provided financial support for Hamas."

The lawyers arguing in support of Galloway said the MP's participation in the convoy was a symbolic and political statement to provide aid to the Palestinian people.

While the injunction was ultimately denied, Martineau said the arguments were not “frivolous or vexatious,” and cited evidence that could support the allegations the decision was politically motivated.

The judge said there is some evidence to suggest the decision may have been “prejudged” and based on “external lobbying and political interference.”

“We are considering that this is a partial victory,” said Lacombe. He said he is hopeful a judicial review of the decision will take place since the ruling indicated there are "serious issues to be tried."

Galloway has been an outspoken critic of Canadian foreign policy in both Palestine and Afghanistan, views which he expressed during previous speaking enagements in Canada.

Echoing earlier statements by Galloway himself, Lacombe said the decision to bar the MP will not silence his views in Canada.

“It has completely the opposite effect in fact,” he said, noting the widespread media coverage Galloway has received and the increased interest in his speaking tour.

Garrett Zehr reports for The Hook

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