American radicals had no trouble dodging their duty and crossing into Canada in the Vietnam era, but as radical William Ayers recently learned, our northern neighbor seems to have learned its lesson.
Canada has denied entry to Mr. Ayers twice in the past five months. At Toronto Island Airport, immigration officials denied him entry on Jan. 18. Mr. Ayers let the press know about this major miscarriage of justice, later telling a Canadian reporter (without irony): "Are we living in some kind of McCarthyist nightmare?"
The Canadian government somehow survived Mr. Ayers' fusillade.
Then, on May 18, he was barred again. Sadly, he will have to deliver his remarks to an academic conference via teleconference.
We are sure that Canadian immigration officials have their reasons. Mr. Ayers co-founded the terrorist hippie group, the Weather Underground, that bombed the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, and New York City Police Headquarters; robbed banks; and assaulted policemen. He has not repented. On the eve of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he told the New York Times: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."
We doubt that Mr. Ayers is on some sort of watch list. Chances are the aging radical is right that his 40-year-old felony conviction is the reason. Canada has denied entry to American hunters with decades-old drunken-driving convictions and other comparatively minor offenses, costing its economy sizable fees. That our northern neighbor wants to bar anyone with a criminal record hardly seems the stuff of "nightmares."
George Galloway, the member of Britain's Parliament best-known for his cozy history with Saddam Hussein and his anti-American rants, was also barred by Canada because, according to press reports, he led a convoy to Gaza earlier this month that delivered humanitarian aid to the territory's Hamas government. Canada considers Hamas a terrorist organization, which, of course, it is.
Two lessons emerge from these events: The United States could learn from the Canadian example, and Mr. Ayers, with his stoked-up fears of "McCarthyist nightmares," needs to stop crying wolf. Or switch to decaf.