Canada parliament vote on backing Palestinian statehood hits delay

Canada parliament vote on backing Palestinian statehood hits delay
Canada's vote on supporting Palestinian statehood has been delayed by last-minute parliamentary wrangling.
2 min read
People holding Palestinian flags and banners as they gather to stage a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Ottawa, Canada [GETTY]

Last-minute parliamentary wrangling on Monday delayed a vote by Canadian legislators on a non-binding motion to back Palestinian statehood. This idea looked set to deepen splits inside the ruling Liberal Party.

The original motion was drawn up by the minority left-leaning New Democrats (NDP), who are helping keep Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals in power and are unhappy with what they see as his failure to do enough to protect the civilian population in Gaza.

The initial version called on Canada to "officially recognise the State of Palestine" - a step that no member of the Group of Seven industrialised nations has taken.

After backroom negotiations between the NDP and the Liberals, that wording was dropped in favour of language calling on the international community to work toward establishing a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.

But Liberal and opposition legislators in the House of Commons complained they had not been notified of the new wording and demanded the chance to debate it. Proceedings were suspended, and it was unclear when they would be resumed.

Last week, Canada said it had paused non-lethal military exports to Israel since January. Trudeau, while asserting Israel's right to defend itself, has taken an increasingly critical stance over the military campaign in Gaza.

The initial motion demanded a suspension of all trade in military goods and technology with Israel. It also urged an immediate ceasefire and an end to illegal arms transfers to Hamas and called on the group to release all the captives it took during the 7 October attacks.

There had been clear signs of division inside the Liberal caucus over policy toward the Gaza conflict, with prominent backbench legislators backing and opposing the motion.

Israeli Ambassador Iddo Moed had earlier condemned the original idea of a vote on Palestinian statehood, saying it would "only evoke more bloodshed and jeopardise any peaceful resolution to the conflict."