NDP Palestinian statehood motion diluted, sanitized before passed by House

Mar 21, 2024 | Canadian News, International News, News

The New Democratic Party (NDP) tabled a motion Monday to recognize the statehood of Palestine. It passed but not before it was sanitized by Liberal and New Democrat MPs.

“Palestinians and Israelis both deserve to live in peace, with full enjoyment of their human rights and democratic freedoms,” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said in his party’s release.

The NDP release said the party has been calling for a cease-fire for the last six months, but the fighting in Gaza continues and Justin Trudeau’s administration has done nothing against it.

NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Heather McPherson said 13,000 Palestinian children have been killed in the fighting that the International Court of Justice says might be genocide.

“The children of Gaza are traumatized and starving to death,” McPherson said. “These children are not Hamas.”

The NDP also urges Trudeau’s administration to lift the cap of 1,000 temporary resident visa applications for Palestinians.

Singh said Canadians “want their loved ones home, and they want peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis.

“But to get there, the Liberal government needs to be part of the solution, not the problem,” Singh said.

The motion was passed after amendments were edited, including the weakening of the language and giving the government room to continue relations with the Israeli government.

One amendment demands the maintenance of sanctions on Hamas leaders.

Michael Bueckert, vice president of the Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), said he was deeply disappointed by the many changes made to the motion to validate “false Israeli narratives and an acquiescence to the horrific status quo.”

“The Trudeau government must immediately implement the democratic will of Parliament by adopting these demands,” Bueckert said. “Ignore the backlash from those who seek to vilify this motion, including the far-right Israeli government itself.”

As part of the motion, Canada has said it promises to end its exports of arms to Israel.

In Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly’s speech to the House on Monday, she said Canada ceased giving out permits to sell lethal goods in October and stopped non-lethal exports in January.

Many allies of Israel said the motion attacked Israel’s independence and questioned their ability to defend themselves from threats.

Marco Mendicino, Eglinton-Lawrence Liberal MP, said he worries voting immediately after making so many amendments to the original motion would violate the rights of MPs.

MPs have the right to a reasonable amount of time to read and form opinions before voting, he said.

“I would say that this is a point of order that should be explored and carefully studied,” Mendicino said.

However, the latest revision of the House Of Commons’ Procedure And Practice manual, said a motion needs 48 hours’ notice before it is tabled. It does not specify whether the motion needs time allocated between the final amendment and voting for the motion to begin.

Mendicino is part of a group of Liberals splitting the party against Trudeau and creating division within the party.

The amendments are meant to address their concerns while still giving the NDP a reason to continue to support the Liberal minority.

However, the amendments step back from realizing the NDP’s urgent need to recognize Palestinian statehood. The motion as amended said the government needs to “actively pursue the goal of … [establishing] the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution.”

The motion does not unequivocally recognize Palestine as a state at this moment.