Canada halts arms exports to Israel, Parliament cites child safety in Gaza

The motion was driven by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with a 204 to 117 majority vote.

Image Credit: Hatem Moussa/AP Photo

Canada’s Parliament on Monday made a landmark decision, approving a nonbinding resolution to cease arms exports to Israel, amidst the escalating conflict in Gaza. The motion, driven by the New Democratic Party (NDP), passed with a 204 to 117 majority vote, marking a significant pivot in Canada’s foreign policy approach towards the Middle East crisis.

“We are dismayed by the failure of Canada’s Liberal government to stand up for what is right, for the rule of international law, for humanity, for peace,” expressed NDP MP Heather McPherson, spearheading the original motion. Her statement underscores the motion’s intent to catalyze a cease-fire, secure the release of hostages, and uphold international law against war crimes.

In the throes of negotiation, the Trudeau-led Liberal government and the NDP reached a consensus, refining the motion to align with Canada’s existing arms export regulations. Despite the modifications, the resolution’s core demands remained, advocating for “sanctioning extremist settlers from Canada” and “demanding unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza.”

The Conservative Party stood in opposition, highlighting a deep-seated division within Canadian politics regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict. “The focus should be on Hamas, not the State of Israel,” argued Michael Chong, the Conservative Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson, reflecting the party’s stance against the motion.

The revised motion’s passage coincides with recent reports from the Toronto Star, revealing that the Trudeau administration had already put a temporary halt on approvals for non-lethal military goods and technology exports to Israel. This preemptive measure stemmed from concerns over potential human rights violations, showcasing Canada’s cautious approach to its involvement in the conflict.

Data from Global Affairs Canada reveals that the country had exported approximately $28.5 million worth of military equipment to Israel in the aftermath of October 7. This statistic has drawn scrutiny from various human rights groups, prompting a reevaluation of Canada’s military trade relations amidst the ongoing violence in Gaza.

In light of the Parliament’s decision, the National Council of Canadian Muslims voiced its support, noting the historic nature of the vote. “We are pleased to see that a historic vote on the NDP motion on Palestine is likely going to result in historic change for Canada,” the council stated, acknowledging the NDP’s pivotal role in championing the motion.


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