Chaos in Parliament: Five Tweets on the NDP’s last-minute motion on the Israel-Hamas conflict

A pro-Palestinian protestor waves a Palestinian flag on Wellington St., as pro-Israel protestors rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press.

Yesterday, with the Israel-Hamas conflict entering its sixth month, the federal NDP put forward a controversial non-binding motion urging the Canadian government to officially recognize “the State of Palestine,” setting in motion a two-state solution. 

After much scrambling at the 11th hour, the NDP and Liberals amended the motion to say it would instead ask the government to work “towards the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution, and maintain Canada’s position that Israel has a right to exist in peace and security with its neighbours.” Among many other tweaks, the new motion no longer bans “extremist settlers from Canada” or imposes sanctions on Israeli officials “who incite genocide.” It also mentions that Hamas is a “listed terrorist organization in Canada” that “must lay down its arms” and removes the word “occupation.”

The new motion passed by 86 votes; 204 to 117. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and almost all Liberal MPs voted in favour, alongside NDP, Bloc Quebecois, and Green MPs. Leader of the Official Opposition Pierre Poilievre and his Conservative Party voted against the proposal.

“This was tabled after the entire debate had concluded,” said Liberal MP Anthony Housefather. “How can you have such a substantive amendment that nobody has the chance to see or debate at all? It offends my privileges.”

The original motion called for actions (much of which were maintained) that included the “demand [of] an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages;” the suspension of military trade with Israel; a push to “immediately reinstate [UNWRA] funding,” and support for an independent investigation into allegations of UNWRA workers taking part in the October 7th attacks; the lifting the “arbitrary cap” of 1,000 temporary resident visa applications to Palestinians in Gaza; and to have the government ban “extremist [Israeli] settlers from Canada” and “impose sanctions on Israeli officials who incite genocide, and maintain sanctions on Hamas leaders.”

NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson, who led the initial proposal, insisted it was written “in a way that it’s not supposed to be a ‘gotcha’ motion.” The MPP added that the motion “aligned with international law, [and] aligns with Canadian policy.” 

Israel’s ambassador to Canada Iddo Moed immediately denounced that motion, saying the “one-sided recognition of a Palestinian state rewards Hamas—a listed terrorist organization by the Government of Canada—for its sadistic attack on October 7th which was perpetrated with the intention of annihilating the State of Israel.” He further commented that “[e]mpowering terrorists will only evoke more bloodshed and jeopardize any peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

Since the motion was placed on notice late last month, Canada has taken the controversial decision of resuming UNRWA funding.

If Canada was to recognize Palestine as a state it would be the first G7 country to do so. While other G7 countries including the U.S. and France may be leaning towards this position, they have not made any formal announcements.

Among the UN’s 193 member states, 139 have recognized Palestine, including nearly every country in South and Central America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

The initial motion caused major divides in the Liberal cabinet, caucus, the House of Commons, and also among the members of the public. 

Here are five tweets reacting to the motions.

The House of Commons X account broadcast the final result to Canadians.

Anthony Koch, former spokesman for Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, noted how frantic the vote ended up being.

Other critics called it a “back of the napkin” approach to foreign policy that would disappoint allies who were watching the procedures. 

Journalist and author John Ivison commented on the chaos.

Meanwhile, others, including the National Council of Canadian Muslims insisted it was actually a major step in the right direction that would lead to real change.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh insisted his party had much to celebrate, even if the motion was non-binding.

Since October 2023, more than 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. Independent statistical analysis, however, casts major doubt on the validity of these numbers. Meanwhile, around 100 people are still being held hostage by Hamas terrorists.

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