Skip to main content

Chelsea Manning before a scheduled appearance at a forum, in Nantucket, Mass.

Steven Senne/AP

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says no one asked him whether a former U.S. soldier who leaked thousands of classified military documents should be deemed inadmissible to Canada because of her convictions.

But Goodale suggested he'd think hard before overruling a border officer's decision that saw Chelsea Manning turned away from Canada last week.

"No such request has been made to me with respect to that matter," Goodale said.

Story continues below advertisement

"And, when a Canada Border Services officer has exercised appropriately within their jurisdiction the judgment that they are called upon to make, I don't interfere in that process in any kind of a light or cavalier manner."

Manning is a 29-year-old transgender woman who was known as Bradley Manning when she was convicted in 2013 of leaking the trove of classified material.

On Monday, she posted a letter from Canadian immigration officials to her Twitter account that said because she was convicted of offences that are deemed equivalent to treason in Canada, she's inadmissible to this country for what's known as "serious criminality."

The notice Manning posted said she tried to cross at the official border office at Lacolle, Que., on Friday.

Attempts to reach her were not immediately successful, though she told Reuters that she was hoping to travel to Montreal and Vancouver during her visit here.

She did disclose to border officials that she was convicted of charges and released from prison in May.

Manning had been sentenced to serve a 35-year sentence at the maximum-security military facility but as one of his last acts as U.S. president, Barack Obama commuted her sentence to the time she'd served since being arrested in 2010.

Story continues below advertisement

Whether she should have been convicted at all was the subject of much debate in the U.S., where some argued that she should be afforded protection as a whistleblower.

Among the materials she was credited with releasing was footage of the death of civilians at the hands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, files related to prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay and thousands of diplomatic and state cables that shed new light on international relations.

Manning said she will challenge the Canadian government's decision during an admissibility hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board. There are currently extensive delays for hearings with their immigration appeal division thanks to a shortage of judges.

People whose criminal records make them ineligible to enter Canada aren't necessarily out of luck.

They can apply for what's known as a "temporary residency permit," either before trying to enter the country or at the border. To be eligible, the person has to prove that their need to enter or stay in Canada outweighs any risk they might pose to Canadian society.

Whether Manning attempted to apply for such a permit is unknown.

Story continues below advertisement

Immigration lawyer Peter Edelmann said either the minister of public safety or immigration could also step into allow her to enter Canada, perhaps on humanitarian grounds.

"Both ministers could make an exception if they wanted," he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to comment on the case, saying he also wanted further details.

Professor Rex Brynen of McGill University joins Hannah Sung to discuss Bradley Manning's 35 year sentence in the WikiLeaks case and what it could mean for Edward Snowden and Julian Assange Globe and Mail Update
Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter