It is his blemished past, freckled with drug dealing, gun toting, and a string of arrests, that has shaped 50 Cent into the rap icon we know today. But it’s because of that same past that the “In Da Club” rapper was almost banned from Canada.
On this day in 2005, a Toronto-area member of Parliament, named Dan McTeague, put forth a request to block the rapper from entering the country. 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson, was scheduled to perform a series of shows across Canada later that year.
Because of his criminal record, the rapper would need a ministerial permit to cross the North American border into Canada, according to CBC. Addressing Immigration Minister Joe Volpe, McTeague argued that 50 Cent used his music to promote gun violence and asked that he not be permitted to enter the country.
“I don’t think people in Toronto or any urban centre need or want to hear Mr. Jackson’s message right now,” McTeague said. “I think it’s time we send a message of our own to those who glorify violence that their gratuitous violence and movies are not welcome in our country.”
He continued, “We need to do a better job at protecting Canadians from people whose message runs counter to all of our efforts of trying to curb gun violence.”
Volpe’s spokesperson said permits are issued regularly to those with criminal records, allowing them to enter Canada. “It’s permission that’s granted typically about 12,000 times a year,” they told the Canadian Press. “Whether the minister or departmental officials make a decision about intervening or not, it’s really not appropriate for us to be talking about it in a public forum.”
McTeague’s request was eventually denied and 50 Cent was allowed to enter Canada on a temporary resident’s permit. His tour across the country kicked off in Vancouver that December and saw stops in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, and Saint John.
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