A Federal Court judge says he cannot review Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's decision to bar controversial former British MP George Galloway from Canada.
In his ruling released on Monday, Justice Richard Mosley writes that since Galloway never actually tried to enter Canada after being warned the government would not let him in, there isn't much he can do.
However, Mosley, a former Crown prosecutor, found the decision to prevent Galloway from coming to Canada "a flawed and overreaching interpretation of the standards under Canadian law for labelling someone as engaging in terrorism or being a member of a terrorist organization."
The 60-page ruling is in response to an application for judicial review from the Toronto Coaliton to Stop the War and several other groups.
The groups had invited Galloway to deliver a series of speeches across Canada in the spring of 2009 after a similar tour in the United States. At the time, Alykhan Velshi, Kenney's director of communications, said Galloway was not welcome in Canada because he had provided financial aid to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Yet had Galloway ever tried to enter Canada and been stopped by a visa officer, Mosley writes he would probably "have had little difficulty in concluding that the officer's discretion had been fettered by the process followed in this case and that the emails and statements to the process raised a reasonable apprehension of bias."
Kenney aide's comments 'little more than posturing'
Mosley also concludes it is clear that the Canada Border Services Agency's preliminary assessment was hurriedly produced in two hours and on scant evidence after receiving instructions from Velshi.
He writes the CBSA assessment is unreasonable because it "overreaches in its interpretation of the facts, errs in its application of the law and fundamentally fails to take into account the purposes for which Galloway provided aid to the people of Gaza through the Hamas government." The judge also notes that for the formal assessment, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service advised border officials that it had no concerns with Galloway's visit.
Yet Velshi told reporters that the decision to bar Galloway was made on national security grounds. Mosley writes "one might hope that a ministerial aide would exercise greater restraint in purporting to speak on behalf of the government, his comments to the press amount to little more than posturing."
Mosley says it's clear to him that efforts to keep Galloway out of the country were made with no consideration to those Canadians who wanted to hear him speak and "had more to do with antipathy to his political views than with any real concern that he had engaged in terrorism or was a member of a terrorist organization."