As the nation’s media waited with bated breath, a federal court judge ruled Monday that controversial British MP George Galloway would not be coming into Canada.
However, in a somewhat-less-ridiculous world, whether some blowhard Brit addressed a few dozen radical antiwar types would matter not a whit.
Indeed, visits to Canada by Galloway in 2005 and 2006 warranted scant attention, and a speech just last week in New York drew only about 100 people –including the Canadian reporters who were there because of this controversy.
At least according to this judge, Ottawa’s decision to deny Galloway entry into Canada was legally correct, but it was also a needless decision and, frankly, the wrong one.
This is more about the rights of those Canadians who invited him here to speak: freedom of speech obviously entails the freedom to hear.
Justice Luc Martineau was right to say that “non-citizens do not have an unqualified right to enter . . . Canada,”– but Galloway is no “threat” beyond the queasiness one might feel after listening to him. Although Galloway’s defenders are in the right here, their sudden zeal for freedom of speech seems to me to be very sudden indeed.
In fact, many of Galloway’s supporters–including his biggest fan (himself) –ought to avoid the words “free speech” altogether, be-cause we can easily see how spectacularly uncommitted they are to the very notion. Continue Reading →