Election Tracker 2021

Follow_what_political_parties_and_candidates_are_saying_about_Palestinian_human_rights_and_the_Middle_East.pngHow are Canadian politicians debating Palestinian human rights and the Middle East in the 2021 Federal Election? CJPME's Election Tracker will follow what political parties and candidates are saying about the issues, updated regularly as events unfold. The date for the election is September 20, 2021.

Let us know if we've missed something! Send us an email at [email protected].

Note: For CJPME's analysis of the main parties on key issues, see the CJPME Federal Elections Guide 2021.

Last updated: September 19, 2021, 9:00 AM EST

In this Election Tracker:

See other election resources from CJPME: 

Federal Party platforms

This section will be updated as the parties continue to unveil their platforms. This section will include platform promises that are relevant to the Middle East. Note: platform points are reproduced here largely verbatim and without analysis.

Liberal Party platform (link)

  • Continue to engage with our international allies and partners and convene a multilateral meeting to raise additional humanitarian funds and build consensus on how to support and establish an enduring democracy in Lebanon.

Conservative Party platform (link)

  • Canada’s Conservatives will always support Israel’s existence as a sovereign democratic Jewish state with the right to self-determination and to live in peace and security. To enhance the bilateral relationship and support Israel in the region, Canada’s Conservatives will: 
    • Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem.
    • Return Canada to its longstanding policy of not singling out Israel for criticism at the United Nations and international fora. 
    • Combat the delegitimization of Israel, including opposing the denial of the 5,000 years of indigenous Jewish history throughout the Middle East.
    • Boycott Durban IV in September 2021. 
    • Oppose the International Criminal Court’s politicization and intrusion into bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. 
    • Promote and support regional initiatives that foster peace between Israel and its neighbours.
  • To support the aspirations of the Palestinian people and a two-state solution leading to a Palestinian state, Canada’s Conservatives will:
    • Support the current religious status quo surrounding Al-Aqsa / Temple Mount and recognize the special role that Jordan plays in the safeguarding of Holy Sites in Jerusalem.
    • Enhance aid in a targeted manner in the areas of governance and institutional capacity building in support of eventual Palestinian statehood.
    • Establish a Canada-Palestinian Territories Trust Account at the International Monetary Fund, with the objective of providing training and economic instruments upon the arrival of a two-state solution. 
    • Invest in the economic empowerment of Palestinian women and support economic and civil society projects and an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
    • Expand trade initiatives and encourage economic cooperation between Canada and the Palestinian territories and, following the establishment of a Palestinian state, negotiate a separate free-trade agreement.
    • Following the successful negotiation of a final status agreement, upgrade Canada’s representation to an embassy to a future Palestinian state.
  • Across the Middle East, Canada’s Conservatives will:
    • Build on a record of engaging the world’s Muslim-majority nations that includes appointing Canada’s first Muslim Ambassador and first Ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
    • Expand support for the region’s vulnerable women, children and minorities with economic and democratic empowerment, education, and health as the basis for long term peace and security.
    • Establish strategic relations with the United Arab Emirates and across the Red Sea region. 
    • Support the rebuilding of Beirut.
  • Defund [international development] programs aligned against Canadian values (including those delivered by UNRWA [the UN agency for Palestine refugees] unless it is significantly reformed) and replace them with new education initiatives that uphold universal human dignity, pluralism, and peaceful coexistence.
  • Pursue reform of the UN Human Rights Council to prohibit gross human rights abusers from becoming members, engage regular emergency sessions to address human rights crises worldwide, and stop the Council from unjustly singling out Israel.

New Democratic Party platform (link)

  • Recognizing that both Palestinians and Israelis have the right to live in safety and security, we will work towards a just and lasting two state solution between Israel and Palestine that respects human rights and upholds international law. Canada must play an active and constructive role in advancing peace, beginning by suspending arms sales to Israel until the end of the illegal occupation.
  • Under a New Democrat government, Canada will be a force for peace. We will support nuclear disarmament, recommit to peacekeeping, and make sure that Canadian made weapons are not fuelling conflict and human rights abuses abroad.

Bloc Québécois platform (link)

  • The Bloc Québécois calls on Canada to stop the sale of military material to Saudi Arabia while the Saudi regime is known to use it against the civilian population, especially in Yemen.

Green Party platform (link)

  • Pursue a foreign policy centred on the promotion of human security, and respect for the rule of law in dealing with state and non-state actors.
  • Sign and ratify the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and press urgently for global nuclear disarmament and the conversion of military industries in Canada into peaceful and restorative industries.
  • Strongly condemn and raise international awareness of the evidence regarding violations of international law, and lead discussions with international allies to explore all options for bringing perpetrators into compliance.

Responses to Questionnaires (Highlights)

Questionnaire from the BDS Coalition:

  • Responses from the Bloc Québécois (August 23, 2021)
    • Supports a policy of distinguishing between Israel and its illegal settlements, including within the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
    • Support an ICC investigation of Israeli war crimes in Palestine. However, the Bloc says will not advocate for sanctions upon Israel, including an arms embargo, nor will it 'draw conclusions' about Israel's crimes of Apartheid, until that ICC investigation is completed. 

Party Survey from Vote Palestine:

  • Responses from the Bloc Québécois (September 10, 2021)
    • Instead of banning settlement goods, the Bloc says it has pushed for settlement goods to be excluded from the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, which would then be subject to the usual taxation.
    • The Bloc opposes weapons sales to countries that violate human rights, but is waiting for the results of the ICC investigation before making a decision about sales to Israel. The Bloc says that sanctions are appropriate against Hamas.
    • Supports the ICC investigation, as well as voting in support of Palestinian rights at the UN.
    • Regarding IHRA, the Bloc says that it is opposed to groups muzzling their critics with claims of antisemitism, but supports free expression and the right of citizens to support a cause peacefully.
  • Responses from the NDP (September 18, 2021)
    • Supports "an end to all trade and economic cooperation with the illegal settlements."
    • Supports an end to arms sales to Israel (but does not commit to suspending all bilateral military trade)
    • Supports the "independent work" of the ICC, and will "support UN resolutions regarding the human rights of Palestinians."
    • Limited support for IHRA: "We support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism as an educational tool to help policymakers address the ever-evolving scourge of Jew-hatred. However, we do have concerns that the associated examples could undermine those who wish to speak out in favour of the human rights of Palestinians."

Questionnaire from the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute:

  • Responses from the NDP
    • Supports cancelling the Saudi Arms Deal, and says that Canada's arms exports regime needs to be strengthened.
    • Does not support Canada's position of opposing the ICC investigation of war crimes by Israeli officials.
    • Supports withdrawing Canada's special forces from Iraq.
    • Supports Canada's $19b plan to procure new fighter jets, but opposes the purchase of F-35s and opposes the $5b plan to purchase armed drones.

Questionnaire from B'nai Brith Canada (a pro-Israel organization):

Note: B'nai Brith Canada has not published the full responses from the parties, but has summarized what the parties have told them. How the responses were interpreted and summarized might not accurately reflect the original answers.

  • Responses from the Liberal Party
    • Supports "standing against the delegitimization of Israel and subjecting Israel to double standards, in particular in international fora,” i.e. protecting Israel from criticism at the UN.
    • Remains "committed to supporting progress towards a two-state solution" and would "continue to oppose unilateral actions that jeopardize the prospects for peace."
  • Responses from the Conservative Party
    • Recognizes the BDS movement as "antisemitic." "The party says it is committed to ensuring that its government would not fund the activities of any group or institution that supports the BDS movement."
  • Responses from the NDP
    • "The NDP believes the government of Canada must have a clear definition of antisemitism but it has some concerns that the IHRA Definition and its associated examples could undermine those who wish to speak out in favour of the human rights of Palestinians."
    • In response to a question about removing criticism of Israel off the agenda of the UN Human Rights Commission, the NDP rejects the proposal, saying: “We believe Canada must join efforts in the UN system to speak out against violators of human rights in all countries. All UN member states must be transparent and fully respect their international human rights obligations.”
    • In response to a question about removing criticism of Israel off the World Health Assembly's agenda, the NDP rejects the proposal, saying: “There are many health challenges in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in East Jerusalem and Gaza. Canada must step up efforts to address these challenges, some of which are related [to] the Israeli occupation.”
    • Regarding the BDS movement, the NDP says that “BDS cannot replace good faith efforts to negotiate a sustainable and just solution to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians." However the party also recognizes that "Canadians have the right to freedom of expression and to support non-violent movements for the respect of international law."
    • The NDP said "it would not withhold government assistance resources from organizations or academic institutions that advocate for, or support, BDS, adding that it believes this would undermine freedom of expression in Canada."
    • The NDP "accepts the need for a close bilateral relationship with Israel, as set out in the existing Canada-Israel Strategic Partnership Memorandum of Understanding, but said it has concerns about the negative impacts of the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement on the path towards peace between Israel and Palestine."
  • Responses from the Green Party
    • "While the Green Party did not endorse the formal Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, it said it acknowledges the tactics it entails as legitimate tools of non-violent political expression."
    • "The Green Party told us it is committed to helping restore faith between United Nations’ agencies and Israel, believing that they still have a key role to play in facilitating progress toward a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians that recognizes the deep connection both communities feel towards the land and holy sites."

Key developments, statements, and promises

  • September 14-15, Liberal candidates launch a smear campaign against NDP candidate Anjali Appadurai (Vancouver Granville) for previous statements in support of Palestine. Liberal candidate Ya'ara Saks (York Centre) shares tweets (1,2) accusing Appadurai of antisemitism, and this is further shared by Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed (Vancouver Granville). In response, CJPME launches action alert urging NDP leader Singh to stand by Appadurai, and CJPME and IJV call on Saks and Noormohamed to apologize.
  • September 8, Green leader Annamie Paul is asked about her party's position on Israel during the French federal leader's debate. Paul does not provide a clear position, but notes that the party platform does not include positions on any international conflict.
  • September 7, the Green Party releases its full platform. Includes no mention of Israel and Palestine, but pledges to condemn violations of international law and adopt the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
  • September 1, the Liberal Party releases full platform. Includes no mention of Israel and Palestine, but pledges to coordinate humanitarian aid and support for Lebanon.
  • August 30, Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole reiterates his promise to move Canada's Embassy to Jerusalem, saying he is prepared to handle the international backlash that would follow.  
  • August 25, Green Party leader Annamie Paul dodges questions about her lack of outreach to Palestinian-Canadians, after being told that the community feels "excluded" from the party. She also refrains from clarifying the Green Party's position on the 10 day Gaza war in May 2021, saying she is "completely comfortable with the statements that were made" and that she would issue the same statements on any deadly conflict.
  • August 24, the Liberal Party partially releases main platform points, foreign policy excluded.
  • August 22, the Bloc Québécois releases platform which calls for an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia while it uses them against civilians, including in Yemen.
  • August 21, campaign flyer by Liberal MP Ya'ara Saks boasts that the Liberals have a more pro-Israel record than Stephen Harper, noting that Trudeau has voted with Israel "91% of the time" at the United Nations, and falsely conflating BDS with antisemitism.
  • August 16, the Conservative Party releases platform which promises to defund aid to Palestine refugees, recognize Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem, block criticism of Israel at the UN, oppose an ICC investigation of Israeli war crimes, and pour money into the Palestinian Authority.
  • August 15, the Liberal government drops the writ for the federal election, with an election scheduled for September 20.
  • August 12, NDP publishes its election platform which promises an arms embargo on Israel, working towards nuclear disarmament and arms trade control.

Smaller parties and Independents

  • August: the Communist Party of Canada releases its election platform. Relevant platform points include:
    • Oppose Israeli apartheid – support a just peace in the Middle East based on Israel’s withdrawal from all territories occupied since 1967, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the formation of an independent, viable Palestinian state. Enact boycott, divestment, and sanctions on Israel. Enforce laws against military recruiting of youth in Canada by the Israeli Defence Force.
    • Support a peaceful, political settlement in Syria. Bring Canadian troops home now, and oppose US war preparations against Iran, regime-change plans in Nicaragua, and the new Cold War against China and Russia.
    • Adopt an independent Canadian foreign policy of peace and disarmament, cut military spending by 75%, oppose the upgrading of NORAD, and withdraw from NATO and NORAD now. Support the global abolition of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction – sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. 
    • Scrap the planned purchase of F35 fighter jets and warships that are equipped to carry nuclear weapons, the $5 billion purchase of armed drones, and cancel the sale of armoured military vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Stop the Saudi genocide in Yemen. End all military exports from Canada.