Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Help Galloway Kick Jason Kenney

I RECEIVED THIS APPEAL IN MY INBOX this morning. People may remember when George Galloway was barred from entering Canada for the crime of having provided grassroots aid to the people of Gaza, who are suffering under an illegal and immoral Israeli blockade. It looks like it might blow up in the faces of the Tories and we should all help to apply some fire to the wick. With the scandal around detainee torture, the petty maneuverings around the economic stimulus, and just plain old incompetence and foolhardiness, this could be another nail in the Tory coffin.

Dear friends:
The Defend Free Speech Campaign is pleased to announce that British MP George Galloway has recently won an important victory against Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney in the Federal Court of Canada. On October 31, 2009, the Court announced that it would hear a judicial review of Kenney’s decision to ban Galloway from entering Canada. The Court is expected to issue a final decision in January 2010.
The significance of this development should not be underestimated: only about10 to 15 per cent of all cases ever make it to the Court. This indicates that Galloway has a serious case against Kenney - one that we can win!
But we urgently need your help!
Between now and December 21, we must raise a minimum of $20,000 CAD to cover basic legal expenses. Our dedicated legal team has been working pro-bono since the ban was announced, and will continue to do so, but they have had very little support for mounting court costs.
By contrast, Jason Kenney and the federal government have unlimited resources to undermine Galloway's case in the Court, and to attack our campaign in the media and the public. Indeed, this was their approach when the ban was first announced.
In order for the case to proceed, we're going to need your generous financial support, and we need it as soon as possible. At stake is much more than Galloway’s ability to enter and speak in Canada; at stake is the freedom of Canadians to criticize and oppose their government without fear of censorship or retribution.
Please help us to defend free speech by making a donation today!

There are two easy ways to donate:
1) Online
Click here to make an easy and secure donation by credit card (please note, your donation will be private; we do NOT list the names of contributors):

2) By cheque or money order
Mail your cheque or mondey order made payable to "Peace and Justice Committee" to:
Defend Free Speech Campaign
427 Bloor Street West, Box 13
Toronto ON M5S 1X7
No donation is too big or too small, and every penny counts towards our $20,000 goal.

In addition to making a donation, you can support the Defend Free Speech Campaign by taking the following steps:
+ Forward this e-mail to friends, family, co-workers and all your e-mail contacts, encouraging them to support the campaign, too!
+ Visit our website
+ Add a link to our campaign on your website.
+ Join our Facebook group: Help George Galloway beat Jason Kenney in Federal Court!
+ Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. Update your status to: I'm helping George Galloway beat Jason Kenney in Federal Court! You can, too.
+ Follow us on Twitter.
+ If you belong to a trade union, student union, peace or social justice
group, download this sample resolution to endorse the campaign and make a
donatio.

Thank you in advance for your generous support! This is a campaign we can win, but only with your help.

In solidarity,
James Clark
Defend Free Speech Campaign

Background

On March 19, 2009, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney banned British Member of Parliament George Galloway from entering Canada. Galloway learned about the ban from the British media, which had been contacted by members of Kenney's staff. Hours after the ban appeared in the media, Galloway finally received written confirmation of the ban from Canada's High Commission in London.

Letter from the Canadian High Commission.

Response from Galloway's Canadian lawyers.

Galloway had been scheduled to visit four Canadian cities - Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal and Ottawa - as part of a North America-wide speaking tour in March and April 2009. He had been invited by local peace coalitions, student unions and church groups to speak about his recent humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza, and to speak about his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.
Galloway spent two weeks speaking to audiences in major cities all over the United States, but was banned from entering Canada by Jason Kenney.
In response, peace activists and civil liberties campaigners launched the Defend Free Speech Campaign, which helped galvanize public opposition to the ban. Unfortunately, we were unable to overturn it before Galloway was scheduled to speak in Canada. As a consequence, Galloway was forced to speak to Canadian audiences through an online video connection from New York City.
Since then, the Defend Free Speech Campaign has remained committed to opposing Kenney's attack on free speech, and has supported a legal challenge in the courts. The Federal Court ruling on October 31 is our first major victory.

More background information is available on our website, including timelines, media reports, and legal documents.
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