Who’s the popinjay? Barring British MP Galloway puts Canada in a shameful light


Like last week’s attack on Chas Freeman in the US, this attempt to disrupt the support for the beleaguered Palestinians is backfiring. After a campaign by the Israeli lobby that Freeman said plumbs “the depths of dishonour and indecency”, he was forced to withdraw as Obama’s nominee for chairman of his National Intelligence Council, causing a furor which still resonates. The Galloway ban is giving much greater exposure to Canadians of his withering critique of Canada’s failed war: “Flagwaving, or in the case of Canada, shroud-waving of the brave Canadian soldiers who gave their lives for this failed policy of the Canadian government [in Afghanistan] is despicable beyond words.”

The decision to deny Galloway entry stands in stark contrast to the warm welcome the Conservative government and the Canadian media gave former US president George W Bush last week. Only a hardy band of 500 protesters braved the Calgary cold to throw shoes as close as possible to a man who many believe should not have been granted entry for his role in perpetuating crimes against humanity.

How unfortunate for Harper that this clumsy faux pas merely makes him and Canada look foolish around the world. Just about the only praise for Harper comes from theConference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations, which represents all 50 of the Israeli lobby groups in the US, and is arguably even more powerful than AIPAC. They honoured Harper and the entire Conservative government last year by awarding them their very first International Leadership Award for his support of Israel.

The Galloway gaffe is not all the Conservatives have been up to. Immigration Minister Kenney just announced he was cutting funding for social programmes provided by theCanadian Arab Federation for new Muslim immigrants (including many Afghans) because it openly criticises the current government’s strongly pro-Israel stance in the Middle East.

Kenney has also been busy deporting another five US war resisters, including Kimberly Rivera, the first US woman Iraq war resister to go to Canada. Rivera, her husband and three children, including her six-week-old daughter, were forced to leave before parliament reconvened last month, when an angry opposition, smelling blood, could have overturned the heartless ruling. Kenney is on record saying the refugee claims of war resisters are “bogus”, that he “has no sympathy for them.” This is the same Canada that was a haven for 125,000 US Vietnam war resisters in the 1960-70s, the largest migration from the US to Canada since the American Revolution.

Curiously, Kenney’s 24-year-old yes-man, Alykhan Velshi, is a self-styled “moderate Muslim” who described Galloway as an “infandous street-corner Cromwell”. “We’re not going to seek to overturn that [CBSA] assessment in order to let into the country someone who … is, in a sense, a popinjay for those Taliban fighters who are trying to killCanadian soldiers in Afghanistan.”

Though denying the charge that he financially supports Hamas, Galloway is otherwise treating the matter tongue-in-cheek. In a press release, he pointed out: “In 2006 [Kenney] addressed a rally of the so called People’s Mujahideen of Iran, a Waco-style cult, banned in the European Union as a terrorist organisation… Being banned by such a man is like being lectured on due diligence by Lord Conrad Black, a Kenney ally, now breaking stones in the hot sun.  read  on


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