Canada

Galloway allowed into Canada

Former British MP George Galloway, told last year he was not welcome because of accusations by the government that he supported terrorism, is now in Canada.

Former British MP George Galloway, who was told he was not welcome in Canada last year over accusations by the government that he supported terrorism, was allowed into the country on Saturday.

Galloway, who arrived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport late Saturday afternoon, was greeted by supporters after he cleared customs.

Outspoken former British politician George Galloway is welcomed by supporters at Toronto Pearson Airport . ((Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press))

"I'm very happy to be here in Canada, and my presence proves that Canada remains a country governed by laws, not by 'here today, gone tomorrow' politicians and their whims," he said.

Galloway said he had a long and intense interview with three immigration officials before he was allowed to leave.

He added that he would consult with his Canadian legal team to see what actions might be taken against Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, which may include a libel suit. Galloway said Kenney put him in danger and hurt his reputation by falsely branding him a terrorist.

He accused the government of using anti-terrorism "to suppress legitimate political debate here in the country."

Galloway was armed with a ruling by a Federal Court judge, who this week criticized the federal government for announcing in 2009 that Galloway would be prevented from coming to Canada.

Justice Richard Mosley called the move "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."

Galloway had planned a Canadian speaking tour to voice opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but cancelled when he learned he would be denied entry.

The federal government accused him of supporting terrorism and the Canada Border Services Agency said he wouldn't be allowed into Canada.

Kenney, at the time, said Galloway had expressed sympathy for the Taliban in Afghanistan and provided financial aid to the Palestinian group Hamas, which Ottawa considers a terrorist organization.

'They disagreed with his political views'

Mosley said he agreed with Galloway's Canadian supporters that the main reason border agency officials said he would be barred entry was that "they disagreed with his political views."

At the same time, Mosley dismissed an appeal of Ottawa's ruling against Galloway, saying the court would not get involved because the former MP never actually tried to enter Canada after he was warned he could be refused admission at the border.

Galloway planned to issue a statement after he arrived at the airport. He is expected to speak at a church in downtown in Toronto on Sunday.

With files from The Canadian Press