Galloway vows to sue Canadian government

Former British MP George Galloway says he will sue the Canadian government, alleging it breached his privacy rights and branded him a terrorist last year.
Former British MP George Galloway began a speaking tour in Canada at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church in Toronto on Sunday. ((Patrick Morrell/CBC) )
Former British MP George Galloway says he will sue the Canadian government, alleging it breached his privacy rights and branded him a terrorist when it told him last year that he was not welcome in Canada.

He also announced Sunday he would take legal action against "some of the media outlets that casually repeated what were false and defamatory allegations."

"I will be seeking redress in the Canadian courts for these false accusations," Galloway told CBC News, a day after arriving in the country to resume an antiwar speaking tour.

In a speech in Toronto on Sunday afternoon, Galloway reiterated his desire to sue the government and challenged Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to a public debate. Galloway, who said he fought in his youth, donned red mittens as if they were boxing gloves and urged Kenney to "go five rounds with me."

Galloway said he would be prepared to stand outside the minister's constituency office in Calgary until he gets one.

In announcing that Galloway would not be welcome in Canada 18 months ago, Kenney noted the former British MP provided financial support to the Palestinian group Hamas, which Ottawa considers a terrorist organization. Galloway donated £25,000 to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in the Gaza Strip in March 2009.

But Galloway said in the interview with CBC that the Canadian government breached his rights under the Privacy Act by allegedly giving the Sun newspaper in Britain information about its decision to discourage him from coming to Canada.

Damages sought to be announced later

Galloway, who arrived in Canada on Saturday, has not filed a lawsuit, and his allegations have not been proven in court.

He said he decided to sue after meeting with his lawyers in Toronto on Sunday. He said his lawyers would announce the amount of damages being sought "in due course."

The antiwar activist said allegations suggesting ties to Hamas cost him his seat in the British House of Commons a few months ago.

"I was elected five times," said Galloway, who was initially elected as a Labour MP but was expelled from the party in 2003. He was defeated in the last U.K. election, in which he said his political opponents "prosecuted the declaration by the Canadian government that I was a terrorist."

He said he donated ambulances, medicine and toys to help people living in Gaza cope with the Israeli government's restrictions on goods entering the territory.

Galloway said giving ambulances to the government in Gaza is not the same thing as materially supporting Hamas or terrorism.

"I've had to radically alter my entire way of life since this judgment, in terms of my own personal security, the security of my family, how I moved around the world," said Galloway, who most recently was an MP with the Respect party, which he founded.

"It has caused me difficulties at borders. I'm a regular visitor to the United States. You can imagine that such a set of ringing false declarations by a Canadian minister of a Commonwealth country, a G7 nation, an important country, will have on immigration officials in many parts of the world."

With files from The Canadian Press