Anthony Housefather reflecting on his place in the Liberal Party of Canada

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather is considering turning his back on the Trudeau government after the adoption of a motion to promote peace in the Middle East.

“I think this is the first time in my parliamentary career that I have had a thought like this,” he said in Ottawa on Tuesday, the day after the adoption of the New Democratic Party’s motion ( NPD).

The Montreal elected official is one of three Liberal MPs who opposed it.

The amended motion notably calls on the government to work “toward the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution” and to “cease the approval and transfer of further exports of weapons to Israel.

Liberal MPs stood up to applaud the NDP after the motion was adopted, with a result of 204 in support and 117 against.

For the elected representative of the Jewish community, who has often criticized Ottawa’s positions on the conflict in the Middle East, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Last night, when my colleagues stood up and applauded the NDP, I started to think about whether or not I still feel like I belong. I will let you know in more detail how I feel in the coming days,” he told reporters.

He says he felt “isolated”, just like his two liberal colleagues, Marco Mendicino and Ben Carr, who voted against the motion.

The motion caused quite a commotion in the House of Commons on Monday evening. The original motion called on the government to “officially recognize the State of Palestine”, but was ultimately modified by 14 amendments proposed by the Liberals. Official recognition of Palestine was removed from the motion.

The numerous last-minute changes aroused the indignation of several MPs, including Mr. Housefather, who did not have the chance to debate the text before the vote.

The day after the vote, Mr. Housefather believes that the amended motion should have been rejected by his caucus, even if he judges that it “was better” than the first version.

“This motion was against Canada’s foreign policy for decades. It was really shocking for the Jewish community,” he testified.

This is not the first time that the Montreal MP has criticized Ottawa’s positions on the conflict in the Middle East. Before the holidays, he said he was “very disappointed” with Canada’s support for a resolution presented to the United Nations General Assembly which calls for a pause in hostilities in the Palestinian enclave.

Last year, he was the only one to vote against the government bill on official languages. He was then stripped of his role as parliamentary secretary. He eventually became parliamentary secretary to Treasury Board President Anita Anand earlier this year.

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