Canada’s UN vote for ceasefire shows it is gradually ceding to public pressure: CJPME

Montreal, December 12, 2023 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) welcomes Canada’s vote at the United Nations General Assembly in support of a ceasefire in Gaza, which shows that the government is gradually ceding to popular pressure. Israel’s military offensive has killed more than 18,000 Palestinians over the last two months, and UN experts warn that Israel’s actions point to “a genocide in the making.” CJPME urges Canada to be unequivocal in demanding an end to Israel’s genocidal war, and to back up its words with the suspension of military trade with Israel.

“There are over 7,700 Palestinian children who could be alive today if Canada had called for a ceasefire from the start,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “Today’s UN vote shows that this government is slowly coming to the right position, but it has come too late to prevent horrific suffering. Canada must now put pressure on Israel to end its war by imposing a two-way arms embargo,” added Bueckert.

For two months, Canada refused to call for a ceasefire while expressing support for limited “humanitarian pauses.” On October 28, Canada abstained on a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly in support of a humanitarian truce. Ahead of today’s UN vote, CJPME notes that Trudeau issued an ambiguous joint statement which appeared to endorse the idea of a ceasefire in the future: it claimed that Canada supports “urgent international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire,” but did not call on all parties to immediately end hostilities. When asked in Parliament about how Canada would vote at the UN, Trudeau would not say, and specifically avoided using the word “ceasefire.” CJPME urges Canada to be consistent in its position, and unequivocally withdraw its support for Israel’s war.

“It has taken two months for Canada to walk back its kneejerk reaction to Hamas’s attack, which gave a green light to genocidal violence,” added Bueckert. “From the beginning, Canada should have recognized that international law provided no basis for Israel’s illegal military assault and siege against the population of Gaza. From the very start, Canada should have enacted an arms embargo to address the root causes of this conflict: Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, its structurally racist policies, and its desires to push out the Palestinian population into Egypt.”

The demand for a ceasefire has been supported by the NDP, the Bloc Québécois, the Green Party, and many Liberal MPs who signed a statement from the Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group. At least 268 Canadian civil society organizations have signed a joint statement urging a ceasefire, and a Parliamentary e-petition for a ceasefire received 286,700 signatures, making it the most popular in Parliament’s history. The call for an arms embargo is supported by the NDP.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.