GallowayWatch: Calling all constitutional lawyers, armchair or otherwise …

Hot off the CP newswire:

Organizers are to announce Monday they will file an emergency injunction in Ontario federal court on Tuesday seeking to overturn Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s entry ban on the outspoken politician

I confess; I’m really not sure exactly how this is going to work, since neither Citizenship and Immigration nor Jason Kenney are responsible for the “entry ban” on George Galloway.

The Sun (UK), which first broke the story, attributes the decision to declare Galloway “inadmissible” to “border security chiefs”, and in an email to the National Post, a spokesperson for Kenney’s office explicitly states that the decision was made by the Canada Border Services Agency:

He was deemed legally inadmissible to Canada under s.34(1) of our  Immigration Act (which can be found here). The decision was made by CBSA officials based on s.34(1) of the Act and was  based on a number of factors, not only those mentioned in the Sun piece. It  was an operational decision; not one taken at the political level.

Since CBSA is under Public Safety, not Citizenship and Immigration, I’m not sure which decision will be the subject of the emergency injunction request — CBSA’s “deeming” of Galloway as inadmissible, or the minister’s refusal to issue a special permit, especially since as far as I know, Galloway hasn’t even asked for one, although who knows — maybe the preemptive denial by Kenney’s office is sufficient to mount an appeal.

Hopefully, someone with more of a grasp of the legal procedures involved will be kind enough to clear this up for a very confused ITQ, but in the meantime, if you’re similarly puzzled,  feel free to try to figure it out in the comments.

ALMOST INSTANT UPDATE: The Ottawa Citizen has an interview with William Ayers, who was stopped at the border earlier this year, and who is also challenging the ban in court:

On Jan. 18, immigration officials at Toronto’s Island Airport refused to admit [William Ayers] when he arrived from Chicago for a speech at the University of Toronto. Ayers said the officials told him their records indicated that he had a 40-year-old felony conviction, which he denies.

He said he asked the officials if they really thought he was a threat to Canada.

“They laughed and said, ‘of course not.’ So I said, why am I not being allowed in? And they said, ‘it’s not our decision.’”

Ayers said he was well-treated before officials put him on a plane back to Chicago.

“I said to them at one point, ‘I’m an American — come on, where are the chains?’ And they said, ‘we don’t do that in Canada.’” …

Ayers said he’s visited Canada “maybe 25 times” over the years.

For a while, he made an annual pilgrimage to the Stratford Festival. Invariably, he’s scrutinized by immigration officials.

In 2005, though, he was turned away when he tried to enter the country to give a lecture at the University of Calgary. He was given no reason.

Ayers has appeared at conferences in Toronto, Windsor, Montreal and Vancouver, and has spoken at the University of Ottawa half a dozen times.

He serves on dissertation committees at the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa.

“I’ll have to do that by phone if I can’t get in,” he said. He currently has four lawyers working on his case. “I’d very much like to get it cleared up if it’s a misunderstanding.”

(Thanks to Commenter Sisyphus for the link!)

Now, Ayers’ case is a little bit different from that of Galloway – if his record does indeed show a felony conviction, that would be enough to put him on the banlist, although it seems odd that it would only have come up twice, and not every time he tried to enter the country.  But the reaction that he claims that he got from the officers on duty, who told him that it “wasn’t [their] decision”, is curious enough to merit a little digging on exactly what the process CBSA uses to determine potential threats — and how often this is done preemptively — before the individual so targeted shows up with his prospective Canadian itinerary in hand, which seems to have been what happened to Galloway.

It sounds like an ideal job for the Public Safety committee, come to think of it. After all, they’re already looking into border security issues. How about it, guys?

UPDATE: Follow-up post here. Curiouser and curiouser.

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