Bill Ayers, a controversial American academic, was prevented from entering Canada at Toronto’s City Centre Airport on Wednesday, according to the National Post. His hosts, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), knew in advance that he wouldn’t be admitted, according to a press release they issued before his arrival.
His exclusion should “raise red flags for citizens concerned with free and open debate,” OCUFA officials wrote in their release. Ayers was officially on the agenda to deliver the keynote address at a conference on media and higher education on Thursday. That’s despite the fact that OCUFA knew he would almost certainly be detained by the Canada Border Services Agency, which barred him from Canada in 2009.
Mark Langer, President of OCUFA said: “Bill Ayers is a respected academic, and in no way a threat to the peace and security of Canada. There is no reason why he should be kept out.” He pointed out that Ayers, a recently-retired professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has won awards for the education reform work he produced in the 1990s.
However, Ayers is also considered dangerous by many people, because he was a founding member of the leftist Weather Underground, a militant protest group that bombed government buildings, banks, the Pentagon and the U.S. capitol in the 1970s. Their bombings were meant to draw attention to the anti-Vietnam-war movement. Although most bombings were preceded by evacuation warnings, the group did cause serious injuries. Ayers told the New York Times in an article published Sept. 11, 2001 that he doesn’t regret setting bombs and that he would “not discount the possibility” of doing it again.