US & Canada

French MEP Jose Bove admitted to Canada after delay

Jose Bove Image copyright AP
Image caption Jose Bove held a press conference in Montreal on Wednesday

A French activist and member of the European Parliament was detained by Canadian border officials after arriving in Montreal on Tuesday.

MEP Jose Bove said he was held for several hours at Trudeau airport before being allowed to go to his hotel.

The anti-globalisation activist, who represents France's Green Party, was originally told he must leave Canada on Wednesday.

But he has now been allowed to remain longer in the country.

Mr Bove believes he is being victimised due to his opposition to a trade deal between Canada and the European Union.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a free-trade agreement that so far has not been ratified, but is due to be signed in Brussels later this month.

Mr Bove's trip to Montreal coincides with a visit by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday.

'Not welcome'

Mr Bove tweeted (in French) on Tuesday: "Blocked for 3 hours at Montreal airport. Opponents of #CETA are not welcome in this country."

He is due to speak at an event organised by the Council of Canadians, a social justice group, on Friday.

In a statement, the group called on the government to explain "how it can trumpet a 'free trade' agreement with the EU" while stopping an elected EU representative from entering the country.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Bove was jailed for 44 days for overseeing the demolition of a McDonald's restaurant in France in 1999

The Green Party of Canada also condemned the decision, with deputy leader Daniel Green calling the move "appalling".

"Are his criticisms on Ceta so difficult to hear that we need to prevent his entry to Canada?" Mr Green said in a statement.

Mr Bove, a former farmer, worked as a union organiser for decades before being elected to the European Parliament in 2009.

He rose to prominence after overseeing the demolition of a McDonald's restaurant in France in 1999, an act which he served 44 days in jail for committing. He also has several other convictions stemming from protest actions.

It is believed these convictions may have played a role in the decision to bar Mr Bove, but Canadian border officials have not confirmed this.

An official with the Canadian Border Service Agency refused to explain how the decision was made, telling the BBC that "it is not a practice of the CBSA to confirm or deny the entry of any one person to Canada."

"He is not a criminal. He is an elected member of the European Parliament," Mr Bove's press secretary, Jean-Marc Desfihes, said on Tuesday night.

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