Mulcair pledges support for convicted 'cop shooter' Gary Freeman
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair appears on CTV's Question Period on Sunday. March 17, 2013.
Published Sunday, March 17, 2013 1:06PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 17, 2013 11:29PM EDT
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says an American-born man who Conservative MP Jason Kenney accused of being a former Black Panther and a “cop shooter” should be allowed to reunite with his family in Canada.
On a recent visit to Washington, D.C., Mulcair met with Gary Freeman, who in 2008 was extradited to the U.S. for the 1969 incident, in which an officer was shot in the arm. Freeman had been living in Canada under an alias.
Freeman pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for the shooting.
After serving a 30-day sentence, he was denied re-entry into Canada where his wife and four children live.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has said Freeman has no right of return and is barred from the country because he is considered a violent criminal.
Freeman has denied being a member of the Black Panthers -- a militant black power group that ceased operating in the mid-’70s.
“The Black Panther slur is a hoax,” Mulcair told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday. “It’s the same thing as the slur that, unjustifiably, Jason Kenney threw at Mr. Freeman from the House of Commons. He said he was a cop killer. That was completely false.”
Although Kenney called Freeman a “cop killer” in the House, he later said he should have called him a “cop shooter.”
Before Freeman was deported to the U.S. to face trial in the shooting, he had spent nearly four decades in Canada raising his family and working in a Toronto public library.
“He represented no threat to anyone,” Mulcair said.
Pointing to the case of former media mogul Conrad Black, Mulcair said the Conservatives have shown a double standard.
Ottawa granted Black a one-year temporary resident permit, valid until early May, 2013, despite the fact he gave up his citizenship more than a decade ago and has since served jail time in Florida for fraud and obstruction of justice.
“We would look at these two very different approaches in two cases that have a lot of similarities,” Mulcair said. “If you’re allowed to pay your debt to society, which is the conclusion they came to for Mr. Black, why wouldn’t Mr. Freeman be entitled to the same thing?
“The government owes us an answer to that.”