Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Galloway Lapping Up the Attention

As I posted a little more than a week ago, it was a mistake to bar George Galloway from Canada.

With the ensuing controversy, he's become a media star. You can find reference of him in every major Canadian newspaper and he appeared via video-conference on CBC's The Hour. He's ratcheted up the grandstanding by asking Jason Kenny to debate him.
In a speech delivered live to more than 600 supporters in a Toronto church, the outspoken Galloway called the ban over his support of Gaza's Hamas government – a decision upheld hours earlier by a Canadian judge – as "foolish and counterproductive."

Loud applause greeted his challenge to Kenney for a one-on-one debate: "Let's book the biggest hall in Canada," said Galloway, "and you and I will debate these issues of war and peace and freedom of speech and censorship.

"You won't be able to hide behind your spokesman. You won't be able to hide behind your immigration officials that can't speak up for themselves (or) behind the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It will just be you and me and the Canadian public ..."

He continued, "It's just not credible, Mr. Kenney, to call a man touring the United States of America, playing to packed audiences ... a terrorist or a security threat."

He would have been greeted with almost no fanfare had they allowed him entry in the first place. Now he's a free speech martyr.

Funnily enough, we find new free speech advocates:
Or take the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) --perhaps best known for its human rights complaint against Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine.

As for George Galloway, the CIC maintains that people should be free to "draw their own conclusions" about what he has to say. The spectacle of the CIC leading the charge for freedom of speech is certainly absurd, but the depths of their hypocrisy reach even deeper.

Most people who supported barring him claimed it was not a speech issue but a security choice by a sovereign country. It certainly doesn't look that way, and ends up bringing you down to the level of the censors at the Canadian Islamic Congress.

Jason Kenney has had a lot of good publicity lately, but this was a really bad decision.


  1. This seems to be the rule of thumb, whenever free speech is banned. You end up attracting way more PR, then the original speech ever would have generated. Just like banning Ernst Zundel. Without the ban, no one would ever have heard any of his hate speeches.
    To top it off, Galloway is a MP from the mother country. When you start banning an MP from a western democracy, there is something seriously wrong.

  2. I'm willing to give him a mulligan over this issue. I'm becoming more of a fan of his everytime I read articles like this;


    I hope he's able to accomplish much more.

  3. I forgot to mention the hypocrisy of the supporters to use free speech as an argument is ridiculous and angers me. It almost makes me glad Kenney barred the guy now. His supporters look worse for it.

  4. His supporters are hypocrites for using free speech. But they can say well, we have people we ban, and you have people you ban, that makes us equal. I prefer the high road on this one. In Kenney's case, I think it's a chink in his armor.

  5. SA: Refering to your article, he does have a good point here:

    We have so devalued citizenship -- reducing residency requirements, waiving the test for those over 55, asking inane questions -- that it is now handed out like candy. So when Canada rescued 15,000 Canadians from war-torn Lebanon in 2006, it should be no surprise that some half returned within six weeks. These are Canadians of convenience.

  6. Hitchens made a good point that Galloway supported the ban on visits to England, from France`s right wing leader Lepen, and a Dutch anti-Muslim politician.
    Hey we live in a country, that bans ESPN from the air waves. I think Galloway is an A-hole, but banning him from specking in Canada is just plain wrong.

  7. Yes, I agree. Banning Galloway was wrong and a mistake on Kenney's part. Still, Kenney's got a lot of great comments regarding immigration. I think there needs to be a balance between being a mosaic and a melting pot. We've swung way too far in becoming a mosaic. I support Kenney's desire to strike a better balance. We are not a blank slate or a vacuum.

  8. The melting pot worked so well until Trudeau enacted multiculturalism. Even in the melting pot, cultures maintained many of their tradtions. I think everyone agreed this was a good policy.
    However, having the state provide funds for multiculturalism is a bad policy. This is not what a government is supposed to do. I am glad Kenny has ended funding for foreign language instruction. It makes me sick that this sort of policy was in enacted in the first place. Most countries around the world would laugh at such a policy. A new culture to Canada should be free to practice whatever custom they want, just don`t ask someone else to pay for it