Parliament votes to end arms exports to Israel in watered-down motion: CJPME

Montreal, March 18, 2024Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) Vice President Michael Bueckert has issued the following statement in response to this evening’s vote by the House of Commons on an NDP Opposition Day motion on Palestine:

This evening’s vote by Parliament did not go nearly as far as we had hoped for, but is nonetheless a small step forward for ending Canadian complicity in Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza. By a vote of 204-117, Parliament endorsed concrete measures to bring an end to the violence, including an end to military exports to Israel. The motion was passed with the support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly.

A last-minute backroom deal between the Liberal government and the NDP leadership means that the motion no longer contains several of the strongest provisions originally proposed by NDP MP McPherson, including recognition of the State of Palestine and sanctions on Israeli officials for inciting genocide.

CJPME is deeply disappointed that much of the language in the amended motion has been watered down or modified in a way that promotes false Israeli narratives and an acquiescence to the horrific status quo. Tens of thousands of Canadians had petitioned their MP in support of a resolution that suddenly ceased to exist. The watering down of the NDP resolution weakens the significance of Parliament’s vote, even if it was a major concession forced by the Liberal government to ensure its passage.

While the final motion adopted by Parliament no longer called for the total suspension of all trade in military goods and technology with Israel, it called on Canada to “cease the further authorization and transfer of arms exports to Israel to ensure compliance with Canada’s arms export regime.” This policy is critically urgent in light of evidence that Canada exported a record-breaking $28.5 Million in military goods to Israel in the first three months after October 7. Canada has since ‘paused’ export approvals due to the risk that they could be used to violate human rights. With the passage of this motion, the government has effectively promised to adopt a clear policy to restrict exports, including for already-issued permits, not just a temporary pause on approvals. While imperfect, this is a tangible victory on the road to a Canadian two-way arms embargo with Israel. The NDP must not rest on its laurels and continue to fight Canada’s relationship with the Israeli military-industrial complex.

The Trudeau government must immediately implement the democratic will of Parliament by adopting these demands, and ignore the backlash from those who seek to vilify this motion, including the far-right Israeli government itself. Moving forward, CJPME will be following this government’s actions closely and providing advice on how to implement the motion, including by promoting a whole-of-government approach to ending Canadian involvement in illegal settlements.

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.

For more information, please contact Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME, 613-315-7947

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

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