Agreement between the Liberal Party and the NDP | Official recognition of Palestine postponed

(Ottawa) The Liberals managed to convince the New Democrats to remove from their motion on the official recognition of the Palestinian state… the official recognition of the Palestinian state. The House of Commons nevertheless adopted a motion on peace in the Middle East by a large majority.

After several hours of debate, the leader of the Liberal government in the House, Steven MacKinnon, pulled a rabbit out of his hat by proposing 14 amendments which substantially modified the original motion.

New Democrat Heather McPherson, sponsor of the proposal, quickly acquiesced.

The maneuver was decried by the conservatives. They argued that the New Democratic Party’s motion had been gutted – the most contentious element, recognition of the Palestinian state, had fallen by the wayside.

Ultimately, the amended, or watered down, motion was adopted, by 204 votes to 117, late Monday evening. All Liberals supported it, with the exception of MPs Anthony Housefather, Marco Mendicino and Ben Carr.

Liberals in the spotlight

The New Democratic approach was especially annoying for the Liberals. In the other camps, positions were clearly demarcated, at least publicly. New Democrats, Bloc and Greens: for. Conservatives: against.


Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly

From the first hour of the debate in the House on Monday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, pointed out where the Council of Ministers stood. “We cannot change foreign policy based on an opposition motion,” she said.

Tempers quickly heated up between MPs: the discussions had not yet been 30 minutes old when they were already taking an acrimonious turn – a Liberal was accused of condoning the deaths of children, the New Democrats, of “rewarding Hamas” for the massacre of October 7.

Netanyahu government criticized

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – an interlocutor from whom several Western leaders have begun to distance themselves – has been the subject of several criticisms in the House of Commons.

Bloc MP Stéphane Bergeron accused it of a “hard-line government” made up of members “who literally support a genocidal plan,” some of whom participated in a rally in favor of the colonization of Gaza.

It is also with Minister Benny Gantz, member of the Israeli war cabinet, and not with Benjamin Netanyahu, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose to have a conversation on Monday.

The Canadian leader notably underlined “the importance of renewing efforts aimed at the adoption of a two-state solution”, according to a report provided by his office, in which there is no question of the famous motion.

His interlocutor, for his part, referred to it in a message published on the X network. “I reiterated to the Prime Minister that, for the good of the region, any unilateral action must be avoided,” wrote Benny Gantz.

Currently, 139 of the 193 member states of the United Nations recognize the State of Palestine. Even if it had been approved, Monday’s New Democratic motion would not have forced the Trudeau government to join this group of countries.

Recognition of the Palestinian state

The NDP motion called on the House to “formally recognize the State of Palestine and uphold Canada’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist and live in peace with its neighbors.” In its version amended by the liberals, this passage became “to work with international partners to actively pursue the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including with a view to the establishment of State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution, and to maintain Canada’s position that Israel has the right to exist and live in peace and security with its neighbors.”

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