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Tom Mulcair, left, leader of the NDP, talks with Gary Freeman, right, who was jumped bail and fled to Canada after the shooting of a Chicago cop in 1969. Mr. Freeman was eventually deported after being arrested and sentenced in the case. (Ken Cedeno)
Tom Mulcair, left, leader of the NDP, talks with Gary Freeman, right, who was jumped bail and fled to Canada after the shooting of a Chicago cop in 1969. Mr. Freeman was eventually deported after being arrested and sentenced in the case. (Ken Cedeno)

Transcript: Thomas Mulcair’s conversation with Gary Freeman Add to ...

On Canadians: “I don’t feel betrayed by Canada. Canada didn’t betray me, the people of Canada didn’t betray me. The people of Canada are wonderful people. If it were up to the people of Canada, I’d be home. This has nothing to do with the people of Canada. This has everything to do with the people who are currently in control of making government decisions.”

On Mr. Kenney and the Black Panthers “He’s not telling the truth about anything regarding my case. I’ve never been a member of the Black Panthers and he knows it. ... It should not matter. The Black Panther party has never even been on anyone’s terrorist index. They are not a terrorist organization. They are not listed as a terrorist organization by Canada.”

Thomas Mulcair on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney: “Don’t forget, it’s the same minister who stood up in the House of Commons and said Gary Freeman was ‘a cop killer’ and that was a bald-faced lie, he’s the same minister who went on and told journalists, he must have blinded him or something and that wasn’t even true. ... The government admits that the Black Panther allusion is based on nothing. It’s something that’s been added on because it makes it more difficult for Gary to get back to Canada.”

On the political calculus of championing Mr. Freeman’s case: “There are values that guide you in what you do in your life and I will not allow Gary to be kept out of Canada without doing everything I can to get him back in. And you know what, sometimes digging in on something like that does cost you with a certain part of the electorate. Not everybody who’s around me was terribly pleased about the fact that I wanted to make sure that I met with Gary when I was down here because we have messages to deliver about the environment and climate change and the economy and the prospect of forming a government two years from now. But the guy who’s planning to form a government two years from now is the guy who’s talking to you now and I’m the guy who stood up for him three years ago when there was no question of me leading the official Opposition. But I’m the same guy and I’m motivated by the same values and I feel the same way.”

“Maybe people will get to see the belief and the passion and the values that have animated me throughout my political life. I’ve looked at this [case] as a lawyer. I’ve looked at this as an elected official. I’ve looked at this as a dad. I’ve seen a family that’s been torn asunder. Knowing I was coming to Washington, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to put [the Freeman case] back on the table.”

On the merits of Mr. Freeman’s desire to return: “The Canadian government even admits that he represents no risk whatsoever and he is fully rehabilitated. At some point you have to ask yourself, Why Gary Freeman is being told he can’t come and live with his family?”

On Mr. Freeman: “He’d done his time. He’s paid his debt. … Stop with the slurs. Stop with the personal attacks. Stop making stuff up about links to the Black Panthers, and let Gary Freeman back into Canada to be with his family. If the allegation of cop killer is the ultimate slur, you can just imagine how the allegation of terrorism in this day and age is the cherry on the sundae. … I know he is not [a terrorist]. ... It is a hoax perpetrated by the Conservatives.”

Natercia Coelho, wife of Mr. Freeman, on his forced exile:

“He’s the same person I met. He’s sadder. He’s heartbroken, but he has [a] tremendous amount of strength and it is his strength that has helped us get through this. So he’s really the same person I fell in love with. I love my husband very much. He’s my best friend, my soul mate. And I believe in Canada. We all believe in Canada. ... He’s coming home. … There’s no question he’s coming home.”

 

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Gary Freeman pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. In fact, Mr. Freeman pleaded guilty to aggravated battery. This version has been corrected.

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