Bill Ayers denied entry into Canada. So why the shock?

Today, American radical William Ayers was denied entry to Canada.  Here’s the an excerpt from the article on the story in the Globe and Mail:

William Ayers, a distinguished education professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago, said he was perplexed and disappointed when the Canada Border Services Agency declared him inadmissible at the Toronto City Centre Airport on Sunday evening.

He said he has travelled to Canada more than a dozen times in the past.

“It seems very arbitrary,” he said. “The border agent said I had a conviction for a felony from 1969. I have several arrests for misdemeanours, but not for felonies.”

According to the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship website, a decision to keep Ayers out of Canada would not have been made arbitrarily,

“Some people are inadmissible—they are not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime. You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons.”

Just in case you’re wondering about the sort of criminal activity Ayers has been involved with, look no further than a New York Times piece coincidentally published on September 11th 2001,

”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.” Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and-lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings.

In his book Fugitive Days, Ayers writes about bombings he participated in which included the US Capitol Building and the Pentagon.  So, now that we have reviewed a partial record of criminal activity of Mr. Ayers, why would he be so “perplexed” at CBSA’s refusal to admit him to Canada. In fact, in a blog posting by Ayers, the former leader of the Weather Underground writes of a similar experience with Canadian border service officials when he was previously denied entry to Canada,

[The CBSA official] handed me a form called “Allowed to Leave Canada” and asked me to sign under, “I hereby voluntarily withdraw my application to enter Canada. . . .” I, of course, refused.

After an hour in a holding area, he fetched me and escorted me back through security and US customs, where agents from both sides of the border shared a collegial laugh. As we made our way to the next plane to the US, officer 1767 assured me: “I’m not denying entry into Canada on the basis of your membership in Students for a Democratic Society.” I thought of the chorus from Leonard Cohen’s “The Patriot”: “Ah the wind, the wind is blowing.”

I was first on the plane, seen to my seat by my escort, and my passport returned. The times they are a’changing

Ayers’ trouble with CBSA officials seems to be a common occurrence according to his blog post,

“This has become a common-place for me whenever I travel to Canada — I’m always diverted and delayed, always questioned about my anticipated length of stay and the nature of my business, always double-checked. Whenever I’ve asked why I’m being subjected to this special treatment, the reply has always been the same: ‘Just a routine check.'”

Note that this rejected entry into Canada that he describes in his blog post happened in 1995, long before Barack Obama had been suggested to have links with Ayers, long before Obama’s political campaign and long before GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin suggested that Ayers was a “terrorist”. Therefore, this accusation by the man who arranged for Ayers to come to Canada today is moot,

Jeffrey Kugler, executive director of the Centre for Urban Schooling, is deeply disappointed in the turn of events. For him it’s a question of academic freedom. “It’s kind of ironic the day before Barack Obama is going to become president this is what the Canadian border security has done,” said Kugler. “It seems ridiculous that one university can’t have a professor from another university to come and give a lecture on an important educational topic.”

In a CBC interview today on As It Happens, Ayers was interviewed and he was unapologetic for his “illegal actions” during his time in the Weather Underground and to this day calls his acts “appropriate”.

What were his “appropriate” acts? In his own words,

“The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices — the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious — as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.

The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.”

Seems fairly clear, doesn’t it? Though Ayers was never convicted of any crime, he has admitted to having committed criminal activity. The CBSA has previously denied Ayers. However, if you see this as open and shut, you don’t share the bizarre logic of the NDP. Here is Olivia Chow’s press release on today’s events,

New Democrat Citizenship and Immigration Critic Olivia Chow calls on the Minister of Immigration and Minister of Public Safety to allow educational theorist, Bill Ayers entry into Canada.

Bill Ayers was denied entry into Canada Monday where he was scheduled to speak on education reform at the University of Toronto.

“Canada must respect academic freedom and allow Bill Ayers to share his insights on reforming our education system” said Olivia Chow. “At-risk children deserve policies that produce equality in academic outcomes and deserve to gain high academic achievements. The decision to ban Bill Ayers must be reversed.”

When Bill Ayers became a household name during the last election and after his criminal acts were described to the American electorate, Barack Obama wouldn’t touch the man with a ten foot pole. Now, the NDP goes out of their way to speak out against the Canadian rule of law barring the admittance of a self-declared domestic terrorist.



  • Mississauga Tom

    So Olivia Chow said “Canada must respect academic freedom and allow Bill Ayers …”. Has she talked to Comrade Syed Ryan about this new-fangled concept of academic freedom? As of last Friday, Ryan was still defending his vetting of Israeli professors whose views didn't co-incide with Ontario CUPE's – despite the fact that national CUPE's Moist was ridiculing Ryan.

  • Rick

    Ayers border problem and the terrorism angle is interesting but there is a greater issue here. Will the NDP be promoting the educational reform policies endorsed by the likes of Ayers? The Chicago education reformers are a perfect fit for the NDP. Both groups want to reform society to fit their vision of racial equality at any cost. Throw whitey under the bus if it means helping a minority.

    What concerns me is that I already have to de-program my child when he comes home sharing the current elementary school nonsense: “all the polar bears are dying”, “we will kill the planet if we don't use twirly light bulbs”. I could provide dozens of gems.

    Keeping Ayers out of the country is not enough to prevent radical change in our teaching establishments. Radical change is in progress and will continue unless Jane and Joe Average stop it.

  • Ronald

    Absolutely, no problem barring this individual entry into Canada and rightly so. If you read the complete composition you will see who disagrees with this action – Socialists and we all recognize who they are. Why else would they justify sanctioning a self-incriminating (USA) home bred terrorist. Ayers needs to have his head read, since he actually believes he is correct in his idiosyncratic mind. Have a nice flight Bill and no need to apply again for admittance into Canada, we don't require a loose cannon in our midst.
    Jack and Livs 15 minutes of fame are up and come next election – Gonzo!

  • Rob H.

    Stephen – it may be worthwhile to point out that, as a lawyer, we have had clients refused entry into the United States because, after it being established that they haven't been convicted or even charged with any criminal offence, they were asked, “have you ever used narcotics?” – and when they ultimately admitted that they had smoked marijuana in the past, they were not only denied entry, but placed upon a list which refuses them entry in the future unless they obtain a formal permission allowing them future entry.

    So – pardon me if I don't feel sympathy for an avowed terrorist being denied entry into Canada.

  • http://www.blowme.con K. Marx

    The fascist gas bags on the right again support restrictions on the free movement of individuals and the free exchange of thoughts and ideas. Lets hope that you dumbass fascists are refused entry at many airports as well –
    many places in the world regard your dumbass fascism as criminal.

  • Nik

    What I found interesting, about your piece, is that you dutifully report Ayers saying he committed acts of “extreme vandalism” to show opposition to the Vietnam war. Clearly you see these acts as bad, and think that it's right that Ayers was denied entry.

    Which immediately leads me to wonder, what do you think about the Vietnam war? Isn't it bizarre that Americans blew up buildings over Vietnam, when the current illegal war seems far worse by comparison? The American government is holding people indefinitely, waterboarding them in the name of freedom, and no one has formed a new Weather Underground. It just goes to show you how lazy the next generation is.

    Or perhaps you feel that the only way to respond to illegal actions by one's government is a tersely worded letter to the Globe and Mail?

    I sound like I am chastizing you, but really — I don't know when it's legitimate to oppose one's government by committing acts of “extreme vandalism”. I feel like I'm in no position to judge Ayers.

    But clearly some Canadian bureaucrat feels they are in a position to judge. Despite the fact that Ayers was never charged, never convicted, someone somewhere decided he shouldn't be allowed across the border. And that someone is making that decision, on my behalf, and they feel entirely justified in making that decision.

    That worries me. And I'm a little surprised it doesn't seem to worry you.

  • Rob H.

    “many places in the world regard your dumbass fascism as criminal”.. really..

    I would be so interested in knowing where, in the world, expressing your opinion (other than by “extreme vandalism” that, by the way, might also result in the deaths of innocent persons, which occurred in the U.S. under Ayers’ groups work) would be considered criminal.

    Oh – and by the way – if you want to really study up on what “fascism” is, you’ll find it is highly unlikely to come from a right-wing, libertarian posiiton, and most typically, arises in the context of what is initially socialism.

    And I don’t see anyone suggesting that Ayers can’t express himself – as long as he’s not bombing people’s property, we just don’t need an avowed terrorist in our country, thank-you. I don’t want Osama here either.. or am I offending his right to “free expression of thoughts and ideas” if I don’t support his entry into Canada?

  • batb

    Olivia Chow is an unadulterated idiot; she's more of an idiot than I had thought, if that's possible. And pity me. She's my MP.

    Bill Ayers has nothing to add to the education of Canadian children. Nothing.

    In fact, I'm clear that any of his “educational” ideas would more often than not be subversive. I'm equally scathing in my assessment of OISE. OISE is a prime culprit in the dumbing down of our children's learning. Asking OISE to oversee the education of Ontario children is like putting a fox in charge of the chicken coop.

    Good for the Canadian Border Patrol.


  • Liz J

    That’s the nature of democracies, we elect governments who in turn make decisions on our behalf in the interest of the common good.
    In a civil society there can be no legitimate reason to commit acts of violence or “extreme vandalism”. There’s nothing to judge, the acts speak for themselves.

  • MaryT

    And the ndp support Arar, even having his wife run as a candidate, and also Khdar, so they must support liars also. They support the terrorists, want to have a lovein with OBL. And, worst of all they want to be part of the ruling government with cabinet posts. Bet immigration is one they want.

  • terry

    I will send your blog to Obama's office just before he comes to Canada. But it may not matter as Harper is self destructing in any event and my not be PM when the first presidential happens.

    The EKOS poll today tells us what is now going on with Canadians………..Harper's number hasn't been called and he will soon be off the dance floor.

  • terry

    K.Marx… while I'm not a commie I do think you've hit the nail on the head. The reform party is reactionary and has no concept of free expression, especially with this PM.

  • Yes I can

    Has anyone thought that Chow is right and that children want to learn how to make pipebombs?

  • simon

    Congratulations K. Marx
    Its reassuring to know that you've mastered the use of a few vowels in the English language…those being “a”, as in 'fascist' and 'gasbags' and oh yes, “u”, as in 'dumbass”…but oh wait, you managed both an “a” and a “u” in 'dumbass'….very good K M ,you get to go to the head of the class!

  • DaveCF

    Only extreme vandalism, huh? His partners inadvertently blew themselves up making bombs to destroy a dance hall full of soldiers and their dates. Ayers was rightly kept out of Canada. Oh yes, and the looney left seem to be out in force on the blogs attempting to paint the Conservative government as some kind of fascists for enforcing proper border security. I have no time for terrorists or terrorist apologists and I am glad that my government agrees with me.

  • K. Marx

    Wow Simon. You are so… simple. You must be a fascist gasbag Conservative.

    Were you trying to be witty? Don't.
    You aren't and never will be.

  • Tom1969ca

    Nik wrote: “I don't know when it's legitimate to oppose one's government by committing acts of 'extreme vandalism'.”

    You mean, “When do two wrongs make a right?” I was raised to believe the correct answer was “never”, but it's entirely possible my parents were wrong.

    Is a man who robs a bank to feed his infant child less guilty of a crime than one who robs a bank and spends the money on himself?

    Was the Vietnam War a colosal mistake? Absolutely.

    Did it accomplish anything good? Nope.

    Was it legal? Well, world opinion notwithstanding, it was the law of the land within America's borders during the time of the Weather Underground. The soldiers were there on Presidential orders and with the blessing of Congress. So it was not an “illegal” war – immoral perhaps, stupid definitely, but not illegal.

    According to his own autobiography, Ayers *participated* in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971, and The Pentagon in 1972. While no-one was killed in the attacks, that may have as much to do with luck and/or incompetence than intent. In 1970, Ayers girlfriend Diana Oughton was one of three Weather Underground members killed when a nail bomb they were assembling detonated prematurely. A nail bomb. That's not the chosen weapon of a “vandal”.

    (By the way, Ayers *was* charged with both state and federal rioting and conspiracy charges; he and his wife went underground until 1980, by which time the charges against him had been dropped.)

    While these admissions were not made in a court of law, they are no less worthy of consideration by our Border Services. CBSA was not acting on the basis of rumour, urban legend or a smear campaign by Obama's opponents – they were acting on written confessions by Ayers himself regarding his criminal past.

  • Rick

    Very good discussion here.

    Should our borders be open to anyone without a criminal record? Wow, that's a great question. My gut says yes.

    Are Conservative-leaning people dumbasses? Some, not all. Just like all other stripes – some dumbasses, some not.

    Does Ayers have anything to offer our educators? My gut says no.

    Is Stephen Taylor an idiot who supported the Vietnam War? This is inferred based on his willful dissing of Ayers' terrorist activities which were supposed to “show” America how wrong the war was? My gut says no. Besides, I just can't seem to get my head around the idea of condoning terrorism simply because history proved the terrorists motives were based on a correct assessment of the situation. How about this for an alternative: no terrorist act is justified. Period. Cowards.

    Are Harper's days numbered? Uhhh…no. Who will replace him? Iggy? Jack? Gilles? Liz? Hehehe..oh, stop it, my sides hurt!

    I continue to be entertained by the comments here.

  • Nik

    Your parents were wrong: if someone punches you in the face (it's wrong) and keeps punching you, you might have to punch them back (also wrong). Two wrongs can make a right. If your government is criminal and insane, you might have to do something “illegal” about it. After all, it's the government that determines what is “illegal” or not.

    When I was in my early twenties, I ordered a comic book from the States — Squeak The Mouse 2. It featured a drawing of anal sex. A drawing, not a photograph. Border services refused to let the book cross the border. Who were they protecting? And from what?

    A gay book store (Little Sisters) and a big chain book store both order the same gay erotica. The chain's books go through. The border service staff stop the books headed to the gay book store. It's offensive porn, they say, and it can't be allowed across the border. Who were they protecting? And from what?

    Ayers set off bombs in the 70s. He's now a respected and well known university professor. They don't let him cross the border. Who were they protecting? And from what?

    I might have more confidence in the people at the border if I didn't get the feeling that they make up rules at random to suit their particular mood. You just happen to agree with this particular decision. You might not agree with the next one.

    But it's not the decision I'm calling into question — it's how it was made.

  • Nik

    The problem is that people are listening to their “guts” when it comes to people and things coming across the border. The system would be less arbitrary, more transparent, and far more “democratic” if they would resort to using their brains.

    “Does Ayers have anything to offer our educators? My gut says no.”

    My gut tells me that you don't really know anything about Ayers and his career as an educator. I suspect that, when you thought it was your gut talking, the sound was actually coming out of the round little hole where your guts come to an end. :-)

  • Jackie

    So Americans don't have to let canadians with criminal records into their country, but according to the Canadian left we have to let ALL criminals in to Canada?

  • Richard Romano

    Calling people names and acting like a jackass does not constitute an argument. Ayers is a violent radical, and he has never repented of the horrible things he did. His fellow members murdered innocent people, and some are still serving prison time, while this criminal got off on a legal technicality.

    It's pretty sad when people defend disgusting criminals like this guy Ayers — but then again, your moniker is Karl Marx, so that tells me all I need to know.

    By the way, do communist regimes respect the free speech rights of citizens? If you answer yes, you're more deluded than I thought.

  • DaveCF

    Rather than arguing any further, I took direct action and e-mailed the minister:


    May I compliment you on your department's diligent pursuit of its duties. In particular, please convey my appreciation to your officers who denied access to Canada of self-confessed terrorist William Ayers. Maintaining the security of our nation is a first and foremost consideration of thinking Canadians. Even if Mr. Ayers has not carried out subversive acts of violence in recent decades, his unrepentant statements are not something to be encouraged in this country. The fact that he was identified prior to entry is a signal to him and others of his views that they are not tolerated here and that our borders are monitored with diligence.

  • Snapple

    You might want to consider the possibility that the incident/s Ayers describes never happened.

    He is a terrible person and a psychopath, but don't you only have his word for it that Canada denied him entry?

    Has the Canadian government admitted he was kicked out?

    Billy Ayers is quite a drama queen, you know. He might be fabricated this incident and the incidents he describes in his 2005 blog.

    You should ask your government if this even happened.

  • Snapple

    I just took a look at the Globe and Mail article by Marina Jimenez. The article now claims that Ayers was refused entry in 2005. Did that article say that before?

    Did they see your post about Ayers article and change their article?

    Still, like I said–Billy Ayers may very well be making up all these stories about being refused entry.

    You really have to ask the Canadian government because he tells the most breathtaking lies.

    I don't know what is true, but try to find out if he actually was refused entry.

  • Snapple

    Dear Mr. Taylor,

    Have you seen any comment from the Canadian authorities about this alleged incident? As you noted, Ayers claimed in 2005 that he had chronic problems getting into Canada.

    He may just be making up the whole incident. It is possible he never has problems getting into Canada.

    You might want to consider the possibility that Ayers is trying to present himself as a “bad ass” just to get attention.

    He is a real sociopath.

  • Nik

    Liz, are you aware that the American people, who elect their governments, overwhelmingly want socialized healthcare? The vast majority also think marijuana laws are ridiculously punitive. And they overwhelmingly want to be a part of the Kyoto environmental agreement.

    In fact, there's a lot the American people want — yet, strangely, the people they elect won't give them those things. Why is that?

    Here's my best guess — electing a representative every four years doesn't really get you democracy. It gets you someone who acts in their own best interest, and then justifies it at the next election.

    I am amazed at disturbed at a lot of the comments on this blog which indicate a love of authority and representatives acting “in our best interests”. Being conservative used to mean a desire for less government interference, and not a yearning for more.

    YOU are your own authority. That representative you elected? You can be sure that person is only going to act in your best interest if you are standing in the room, watching their every move.

  • Nik


    The above link will get you roughly 95 news stories about Bill Ayers being refused entry into Canada. A few of those stories include reports from Canada Customs. They admit they turned Ayers away at the border, but claim they are not allowed to say why they did so.

    Here's a lesson for you regarding your future existence as a human being: if you don't know something, don't assume you know something. Do some research, and find out the truth.

    You're welcome.


  • Stephen Taylor

    I wish the government would interfere less in my healthcare decisions.

  • Stephen Taylor

    Raise the tone please, Nik

  • Rick

    Nik – Thanks for setting me straight. I should not have used stupid words (my gut), and I certainly should not have said anything out loud. It is obvious that my short note contains thoughts better kept to myself since these ideas came out of my ass. My suggestion that Ayers has nothing to offer educators is wrong, wrong, wrong. What was I thinking! – sarcasm off

    Allow me to rephrase my OPINION:
    Does Ayers have anything constructive (within the notable limitations of my poor insufficient brain) to offer our educators? My gut says no. {Rick breaks wind}

    Come on now. Sure, Mr. Ayers' CV is not on my reading list. Perhaps you know far more about him than I do. Agreed? Agreed. This fact(?), in itself, adds nothing to the discussion. I voiced an opinion. Opinions are formed with or without in-depth knowledge of a subject. Lack of knowledge on a subject does not serve to discount one's opinion. One's opinion is what drives democracy. Yes, it's true. People vote without knowing much about anything.

    What seems to have been overlooked is that you and I shared similar thoughts on the subject of why Ayers was denied entry. So I guess I was only talking out of my ass when the words disagreed with yours? Thanks, at least, for saying it is a “little” round hole. You could have instead called me a big a–hole. And I would agree with you. :-)

    Post your opinions. People will read them. But please…put your daggers away. It scares the kids.

  • Nik

    “Lack of knowledge on a subject does not serve to discount one's opinion.”

    Yes, it does. My brother, let me share with you a parable.

    Over a decade ago, I was working as a temp. The manager of the office received an email about how Nutrasweet causes lupus and other serious illnesses. She posted copies of the email throughout the office.

    I read it and sighed. It was obviously an urban legend. But she was the boss and I would leave it be.

    One day, I was sitting in the cafeteria, drinking a Diet Coke. Someone saw me and gasped. “Don't you know Nutrasweet causes lupus?”

    Irritated, I went online, found proof the lupus story was an urban legend, and took it to the manager.

    “It's an urban legend,” I said, and handed her my print out.

    “I know,” she admitted. Turns out that after she put up the posters, she found out it was an urban legend, and was too embarrassed to admit her error. So she just left the posters up and kept her mouth shut.

    “Can I make copies of my findings and post them up?” I asked.

    She agreed to it. And I did.

    A few days later, a few of us were chatting, and someone said in passing, “Well, I'd never use Nutrasweet because it causes lupus.”

    Irritated, I explained to him he was wrong. Our manager fell for an urban legend and I did research and debunked it. Didn't he remember any of this?

    He paused for a moment, and then said, “Oh, you can use the Internet to prove anything, nowadays.”

    Everyone (besides me) nodded in agreement.

    And I was overwhelmed with a great and horrible despair for the future of all of humanity.

  • Alan

    Ayers is as left as left gets and has unfortunately “a name” which brings visibility to ultra left events so we’ll see more of this until he’s once again forgotten. Some were of course pissed off that he wasn’t delivered and their dog and pony show lost its luster. I’m quite certain his is an intellect easily surpassed by a great many of our own ultra left so any of them would have been able to bolster whatever the agenda was in a manner more in tune with the environment of Canada although with infinitely less fanfare.

    As for being “denied”, there are more than a few Canadians in the NDP bastion CUPE itself who are themselves in need of some ultra left support for being turned around at the US border for minor pot charges and drunk driving offenses. I’m certain they’ll be jumping right on that.

    I remember when there was only the usenet. Other than the GUI, glut of commercialization and content from those not tech savvy, the major difference is that we’ve traded depth for width. There are those of us still who have never gave a second glance to “the poster” on the wall but accessed our Medline and Medscape accounts and to seen for our selves if such a study exists.

    Oh and no I’m not a fascist but rather I was a card carrying NDP until Jack The Entitled showed up at the helm. You just have to draw a line somewhere and mine was rhetoric had to be with regard given to this reality. If I wanted Sci-Fi, I’d be into Scientology.

  • Snapple

    I am pretty informed about Ayers' MO.

    Dear Mr.. Taylor,

    Am I correct that the Globe and Mail article you cited added the claim that Ayers was refused entry in 2005? I don't think that was in the original article.

    Also, can you show me an article in a major paper that confirms from Canadian government sources that Ayers actually was refused entry?

    What I have seen is customs saying they can't comment for privacy reasons.

    The papers may all be taking it for granted that this happened.

    I have not seen a government source confirm that they refused Ayers entry.

    Thank you.

  • Bobo Malaysia

    Here's a question. Does the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act really protect Canada when it denies former employees of certain organizations entry to Canada? For example, is there any case of an ex (retired or fired or resigned) CIA, or British Intelligence agent being denied entry to Canada? These would seem to be people who are covered under the new Act in its section 34. Should they be denied entry? Is this protecting Canada?

  • Bobo Malaysia

    Here's a question. Does the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act really protect Canada when it denies former employees of certain organizations entry to Canada? For example, is there any case of an ex (retired or fired or resigned) CIA, or British Intelligence agent being denied entry to Canada? These would seem to be people who are covered under the new Act in its section 34. Should they be denied entry? Is this protecting Canada?