Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Former Black Panther denied entry to Canada

Maria Kubacki, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, March 23, 2007

OTTAWA -- The Canadian government is refusing Bobby Seale entry to Canada and denying students an opportunity to hear a legendary civil rights activist, according to a University of Ottawa group that invited the former Black Panther Party chairman to speak at an event this weekend.

The University of Ottawa branch of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) -- a student group dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice -- invited Seale to give the keynote address on racism and oppression at a conference this Saturday.

But they found out last week that he would not be allowed to enter the country, according to OPIRG board member and University of Ottawa student Michael Cheevers.

"We decided Bobby Seale would be awesome for this because he's not only an iconic figure of the civil rights movement but he also has some great messages against racism and oppression," said Cheevers.

In a letter to Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day protesting the decision to deny Seale permission to come to Ottawa, Cheevers wrote that, "There are no valid reasons to prevent him from speaking in Canada now, considering he has been allowed to speak multiple times in this country since the 1960s, in particular to raise awareness in high schools about racism and related issues."

Seale, 71, was the chairman and co-founder, along with Huey Newton, of the Black Panther Party, an organization formed in 1966 to combat police brutality in black neighbourhoods but which evolved into a militant Marxist revolutionary group.

No comments: