Canadian Parliament Set to Condemn the BDS Movement Today

UPDATE: Canada’s Parliament approved the Conservative resolution with 221 Yea votes, 51 Nay votes and 12 abstentions, meanwhile Justin Trudeau’s alma mater McGill University voted in favour of a pro-BDS resolution with 512 for and 337 against.

So while our collective political attention, or at least mine, has been focused south of the border, or on less partisan though equally polarizing issues like taxi protests, celebrities being screwed over and basically anything but Canadian federal politics, our parliament has been debating a motion to condemn the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) movement which will come to a vote today, the same day McGill University votes on whether or not they will adopt a pro-BDS stance or not.

Yes, that’s what our elected officials are spending their time and your tax dollars doing. It started when the Connservative Party, our Official Opposition put forward this resolution:

“That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

Now that may sound like typical Harper-era BS. We even got to see Jason Kenney railing against what he thinks is anti-Semitism, completely ignoring the fact that criticism of a state’s policies has absolutely nothing to do with the religion the majority of the people in the state follow.

What’s different this time is that even though Stephane Dion initially called the resolution divisive, it now looks like Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will be voting for it today. The NDP and Greens will oppose.

This is a really embarrassing moment for the Parliament of Canada. While toothless, the resolution is a clear indication that our parliament, and moreover the Liberal Government, doesn’t respect the right of economic boycott, an overall effective tactic protesters can use to bring about real change.

Now remember that Bill C-51, the so-called anti-terror bill that leaves the definition of terrorism so broad it can apply to anyone the government wants to tag with it,  and C-24, Harper’s second-class citizens bill, which could strip citizenship from anyone convicted of “terrorism” are both still on the books. The Liberals haven’t scrapped C-24 or changed C-51 yet, both things they promised to do. In that context, this toothless statement seems a little more menacing.

Makes sense that there is a petition out against this and people are urging Canadians to contact their MPs (and making it easy to do so). I have signed the petition and sent an email to my MP, who is a Liberal and sadly will probably vote for this resolution anyways. If you agree with me, even if you don’t agree with BDS at all but think Canadians have a right to call for economic boycott nonetheless, I urge you to do the same.

While Justin Trudeau clearly likes appeasing the right wing, including the right-wingers in his party, while at the same time trying to mollify the left with some feigned indignation followed by actual voting support for the very thing they are indignant about, I think a clearer message is in order. Here is my resolution, which, sadly, will never come before Canada’s Parliament :

  1. Criticism or promoting an economic boycott of the State of Israel is not anti-Semetism and any politician who argues so is either uninformed or a political opportunist
  2. Condemning economic boycott is un-democratic
  3. Any politician who supports a resolution condemning the BDS Movement can no longer claim to be progressive and must admit that they are just a neocon in progressive clothing from here on

Contact your MP and sign the petition, but if that doesn’t work, then please make me this one promise: vote any MP who supports this monstrosity of a resolution out of office the first chance you get!

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