Jason Kenny Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism recieved a letter from EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere), about Beenieman (slated to perform in Ottawa on Sunday Sept 13 and several other dancehall acts complaining of them breaking their signed agreements/declaration upon entering the country.
“As the minister responsible, please use your ministerial discretion to
prevent these musicians from spreading their hatred and calls for violence by barring them from entry into Canada,” Egale asked Kenney.
Though the group is still awaiting a response to its Aug. 6 letter, Beenie Man — a.k.a. 37-year-old Anthony Moses Davis — is scheduled to perform Sunday at the Sunrise Banquet Hall at 1800 Bank St., the third stop in an eight-date Canadian tour that began Friday in Toronto.
“Obviously, he’s in the country, so nothing has been done,” Helen Kennedy, Egale’s executive director, said Friday. “We’re very upset about that.”
Kennedy pointed out that the government quickly banned British MP George Galloway from Canada last March for raising money for Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Canada.
Yet it continues to issue visas to artists such as Beenie Man even though “we know their lyrics violate our hate-crime laws,” she said.
In an e-mail, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said Kenney doesn’t have the legal authority to ban anyone from Canada. Decisions on who is admissible, said Kelli Fraser, are made by visa officers and border agents.
Questionable performers who are admitted to the country are usually required to sign a declaration indicating that they understand that it’s a criminal offence to spread hate and incite violence, Fraser said.
“We are confident that the police will be vigilant in ensuring that appropriate action will be taken if any laws, including the incitement of hatred against an identifiable group, are broken.”
Sgt. Monica Christian, head of the Ottawa police hate crimes unit, said her officers are aware of Beenie Man’s appearance, but have no plans to monitor his performance. “We will certainly deal with any complaints we get from the public, though.”
Christian pointed out that Beenie Man was allowed into Canada, “so obviously Canadian Border Services have no problems with him in the country. He hasn’t as yet committed any crime in Ottawa. Until he does, there’s not a lot we can do.”
Beenie Man is one of the most popular artists in Jamaica. He has a wide following internationally, and won a Grammy for best reggae album in 2000.
But he’s also been accused of inciting the murder of gays and lesbians with the lyrics of some of his songs.
(Eagale quotes from the Ottawa Citizen)