Well, here we are at the end of another Canadian federal election.
We’ve emerged from a highly unpopular election campaign in the middle of a global pandemic with largely the same results as before. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party have another minority government, with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois holding the balance of power.
One thing was very different with this election campaign however, and that was the incredible grassroots effort by thousands of people across Canada to make Palestinian human rights an election issue. The Vote Palestine campaign was launched just as the writ was dropped, and was co-organized by the Arab-Canadian Lawyers Assocation, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Just Peace Advocates, and the Palestinian Youth Movement – Toronto.
Seizing on the momentum from last spring when tens of thousands of people from coast to coast came out to stand with Palestine during Israel’s bombing campaign, Vote Palestine had endorsements from over 100 organizations, and over 1500 people.
Central to our non-partisan campaign was to ask candidates from all parties to sign the Vote Palestine pledge, which included our 4 central platform points focused on pressuring Israel when it commits human rights abuses, and protecting the freedom of speech of Canadians to speak out on Palestine.
We’re thrilled to announce that at least 68 candidates from the NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green Party and Communist Party signed our pledge! The fact that no Liberal or Conservative candidates signed the pledge speaks volumes to the work that needs to be done post-election to ensure their policies reflect the views of most Canadians on Israel-Palestine.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the candidates who signed our pledge and won their seats: Alexandre Boulerice (NDP), Niki Ashton (NDP) and Mike Morrice (Green). We wish them all the best, and expect them to lift up Palestinian human rights and international law on Parliament Hill.
There are also several other notable MPs who have spoken out in support of Palestinian human rights who were re-elected, including: Jagmeet Singh (NDP leader), Elizabeth May (Green), Mario Beaulieu (BQ), Salma Zahid (Liberal), Matthew Green (NDP), Leah Gazan (NDP), Charlie Angus (NDP), Stéphane Bergeron (BQ), Sameer Zuberi (Liberal) and others. We now have more advocates for Palestine in Parliament than ever before, and we’re hopeful that they will use their platform to advocate for Canada to take better stances on Israel-Palestine, and to move our foreign policy in the right direction.
Volunteers from our campaign sent emails to their local candidates, pressed them on these important issues on doorsteps, and even canvassed for some candidates who support Palestinian human rights.
In a year that has seen so much heartbreaking violence and loss for Palestinians in Canada and abroad, we’re also inspired by the resiliency of Palestinians, and the masses of Canadians who support them in their fight for peace and justice.
The election may be over, but the work has just begun. If you want to support the work of Vote Palestine in the days and months ahead, here are 3 things you can do:
- Write to the elected MPs who supported Vote Palestine and thank them for endorsing our campaign (Alexandre.Boulerice@parl.gc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).
- Follow and support the day-to-day work of the groups behind the Vote Palestine campaign: Arab Canadian Lawyers Association, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), Just Peace Advocates, and Palestinian Youth Movement – Toronto.
- Make a donation to support the Vote Palestine campaign. Your donation will help support work like this in the near future.
Once again, the Vote Palestine team thanks all the candidates who signed our pledge, and all the organizations and individuals who endorsed the campaign. Together, we can hold our elected representatives accountable, and build a stronger movement for Palestine on Parliament Hill.