Tag Archives: GPC

Green Party of Canada: Seems you forgot to update your Policy in regard to Palestine in your Election Platform.

91% of Green Party of Canada members gave mandate for BDS call

The Green Party of Canada (GPC ) approved policy supports the Palestinian civil society call. In particular, it supports all three objectives of the BDS Movement: the right of Palestinian refugees to return; full equality of rights for Palestinians, and an end to the illegal settlements and the occupation of Palestine. The GPC policy also specifies all three tactics of boycott, divestment and sanction, specifically government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes. in fact it calls for specific types of sanctions to be imposed upon Israel, namely, an arms embargo and a ban on the importation into Canada of products from Israel’s illegal settlements. See wording below or HERE

Beyond BDS the GPC policy also calls for the Government of Canada to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prioritize its investigation into charges of potential war crimes by members of the Israeli forces.

This policy was adopted at a GPC special meeting held in Calgary in December 2016 with the support of 84% of the members g. A month later, it was ratified by 91% of Green Party members who voted in an online vote.

Green Party Ignores Its Own Policy in Words and Action

However, when asked about the policy regarding Palestine during the last days of the federal election, Section 5.10 of the Green Party Vision was provided. This is not available from the GPC website. This does NOT reflect the approved GPC of policy. In fact it misses the demands of the BDS movement and the tactics of boycott, divestment, and sanctions. (See wording below) SHAME on GPC Leader Elizabeth May. See more in article by DImitri Lascaris HERE

This is not so surprising, as Ms. May has distanced herself from the approved policy, and has not taken steps to live out the policy in parliament even in regard to Resolution 2234 which was passed by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016, just after the GPC policy had been approved.

The election is over–and we expect the GPC elected members to support their own policy

Now past the election, and with three seats in the federal parliament, we call leader Elizabeth May to do the right thing–to post the approved policy and start to live it out in parliament. We know Paul Manly supports the approved GPC policy, and we call on first time elected Jenica Atwin of Fredericton to speak and act based on the policy approved by the GPC membership.

Action:

Send email to Elizabeth May, Paul Manley and Jenica Atwin. Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca, Paul.Manly@parl.gc.ca, jenica.atwin@parl.gc.ca asking them 1) to include the approved policy on the GPC website, 2) if they individually support this policy, and 3) to put this policy in place proactively. As a start this would include their support of Gaza2020 a call by Al-Haq and Just Peace Advocates to put sanctions in place until the Israeli government at least lifts the blockade for the Palestinian people in Gaza. It would also include providing clear statements to the current liberal government on expectations to vote in line with Palestinian human rights and international law at the United Nations. (see ABC UNSC--Anybody But Canada for UNSC)

The approved Green Party policy.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada (GPC) calls on the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel to accord mutually recognized statehood.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada denounces violence in all of its forms, recognizes that it can only lead to failure in conflict resolution, and supports only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes; and

BE IT RESOLVED the GPC calls on the Government of Israel to: respect the intent of UN Resolution 194, the implementation of which is to be negotiated in good faith with the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians, accord to the Arab-Palestinian population of Israel equal political and civil rights, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the Golan Heights, and Israel’s siege of Gaza;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada reconfirms its policy of condemning illegal settlement construction in the OPT, and calls for an immediate end to further settlement construction and expansion, and the dismantling of current settlements in the OPT, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party of Canada calls on the government of Canada take strong diplomatic action, including economic pressure, in order to ensure the attainment of the three objectives identified in the preceding paragraph and to encourage Israel to enter into good faith negotiations with legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state. Such economic pressure should include, but not be limited to:

● A ban on the importation into Canada of products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses directly benefiting from the illegal occupation;
● Renegotiation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) such that it explicitly excludes products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses operating within the OPT;
● The strengthening of CIFTA compliance/audit provisions in such ways and clauses as to ensure that imported products labeled “Made in Israel” are actually produced, entirely and exclusively, within Israel’s internationally recognized borders;
● The termination and indefinite suspension of all military and surveillance trade and cooperation between, on the one hand, the Government of Canada and Canadian corporations or residents of Canada and, on the other hand, the State of Israel, Israeli corporations or residents of Israel’s illegal settlements;
● The repeal the House of Commons resolution condemning the BDS movement (Vote #14, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session; 22 February 2016.)

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to assess the investments it has under its control and to divest from any companies which are directly benefiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC calls on the Government of Canada to warn of the legal consequences of trade and investment in the illegal settlements;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada, and if elected, a Green government, as part of a policy on ethical purchases, will not purchase or use products produced by companies which are profiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to recognize the State of Palestine, and, should Canada gain a seat on the UN Security Council, the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to pursue aggressively all possible diplomatic pressure on Israel, as well as on the United States to use its massive military aid to Israel as a lever to push for peace; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to ask the International Criminal Court to prioritize its investigation into charges of potential war crimes by members of the Israeli forces, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that; Policy G16-P006-A Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as voted on at the August 2016 BGM be repealed and replaced by this policy.

The Policy the GPC indicated in their 2019 Vision

5.10 The Israel – Palestine Conflict

The conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is often viewed as intractable and irresolvable. More than three regional wars and two Intifadas have left deep scars on the bodies and in the minds of the people of this troubled region. Strongly held views and historical claims are well entrenched on both sides, making this a complex and crucial conflict to understand. It is an unfortunate and continued source of tension for many in the Middle East and around the world.


It should be clear that continued support and use of military or insurgency strategies will not bring about an end to the conflict. The cycle of violence, loss of life, and desecration of human rights must come to an end. The Green Party of Canada believes that any effort aimed only at one side in this conflict will not end the violent responses that exacerbate human suffering. Canada’s role in the Middle East should be to reduce tensions, find working solutions, and uphold international humanitarian law, not to take sides in this chronic conflict. We must work towards a mutually acceptable compromise that will achieve a lasting peace between, and among, the Israelis and Palestinians. The Green Party supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that addresses the security, economic, and religious concerns of the both sides. Diplomatic efforts to build constructive relationships between the two communities are required. Continued dialogue will build community support for the negotiated peace agreement, and will ease implementation and ensure that it does not break down from pressures within the Palestinian and Israeli communities.

Green Party MPs will:

● Endorse the recognition of a Palestinian right to statehood within the internationally recognized borders as described in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, and support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that adheres to pre-1967 borders and incorporates an international plan for stimulating economic prosperity in both nations;

● Call on both sides to immediately stop the killing of civilians and adhere to international law;

● Protect as inviolable the right of the State of Israel to exist, in the absence of fear and conflict;

● Encourage the Canadian government to press for a mutually agreed-upon honest broker to engage in bi-literal and multi-lateral peace talks involving Palestinians and Israelis;

● Call on Arab countries to use their influence to broker an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority to facilitate the promotion of peace amongst the competing Palestinian interests;

● Call for an end to the collective siege of Gaza so that medical and humanitarian aid can be provided;

● Call on Israel to stop expansion and the building of illegal settlements beyond the 1967 borders;

● Accurately label products so that consumers can differentiate between products of Israel and those of disputed areas;

● Amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade pact to allow for product differentiation;

● Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.

Canadian BDS Coalition Working for Freedom, Equity and Justice

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The following is a report on the work of the Canadian BDS Coalition during 2017. 

The Canadian Coalition come together in the spring/summer of 2016.

Report from 2017

The Canadian BDS Coalition formed in 2016 bringing together organizations in Canada that support the Palestinian Civil Society Call through the BDS National Coalition (BNC).  By the end of 2017, the Coalition grew to over 23 member organizations.

Initiation of the Canadian BDS Coalition

Work began in January 2016 towards contacting the organizations which had been part of the now Canadian Boycott Coalition.  Based on follow up during February and March 2016 with the groups that were part of the previous Canadian Boycott Coalition, it was indicated there was strong interest in moving forward with discussions towards a Canadian BDS Coalition.

The inaugural conference call was held in April 2016, with the indication that there was interest in moving towards a shared Basis of Unity based on the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Basis of Unity

A subcommittee was formed in June 2016 to develop mission, purpose & function to present to the Coalition.  From this work, the Coalition finalized its Basis of Unity in September 2016.

The Coalition’s agreed Basis of Unity (BOU)  is on the Canadian BDS Coalition website.  The description of who we are can be found in the About Us section.

The aims of the Coalition are to:

  • promote, support and help coordinate boycott, divestment, and sanctions activities in Canada;
  • provide Canadians with resources to help them understand and take action in support of the Palestinian call for BDS;
  • promote and defend the right of Canadians to freedom of expression in support of BDS. 

Member Organizations

Member organizations share a common commitment to pursuing peace in Palestine/Israel through the realization of freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians, without which a lasting peace is impossible to achieve. Any Canadian group or organization that supports the BDS National Committee call and endorses the Coalition’s Basis of Unity is invited to join.

Member organizations that support the BDS call and the Canadian BDS Coalition’s Basis of Unity  listed on the Coalition’s website.

The Coalition also works with a network of friends—organizations which have chosen not to join the Canadian BDS Coalition for a variety of reasons, but who work with the Coalition towards a just peace in the region. Several are listed on the Coalition’s website, and others are part of the network but not listed.

At the end of 2017 there were 23 member groups, and about 30 other groups that are part of the network associated with the Coalition including two international groups which have Canadian members.  Now, in the summer of 2018 we are approaching 30 member groups.

During 2017 the Coalition had a focus on capacity building, relationship development, outreach, as well as standing in solidarity with voice of unity for BNC call.

Action with Focus on Education and Action

The Coalition recognizes the importance to educate people on BDS: It is important that we talk about what BDS is and what it isn’t,.  The Coalition provides a window of opportunity to share from an educational position about what BDS is about.

Coalition International Campaign

End AIR CANADA Complicity with Israel

The key 2017 campaign of the Canadian BDS Coalition was “End Air Canada’s Complicity with Israel.”  This campaign launched in June 2017, built on a several year long campaign of the Canada Palestine Association.  The Coalition campaign was international and also include strong labour support in Canada.

On November 5, 2017, the Canadian BDS Coalition announced that Air Canada had informed them that Air Canada had cancelled it contract with Israeli Aerospace Industries midterm.

The Canadian BDS Coalition announced this as a partial victory as Air Canada continued with a small maintenance contract with Israeli Aerospace Industries and still sold Sabra products on board.  See release here.

Canadian BDS Gains During 2017

During 2017, several notable BDS gains were made in Canada.  The Coalition stands with these efforts involving their members and friends across the country.

Political: The Green Party of Canada

In February 2017, the Green Party of Canada ratified at 90 percent a resolution supporting a comprehensive boycott, divestment and sanctions policy.  See here for the actual motion passed.  Subsequently, the Green Party of Canada and its leader Elizabeth May have been reluctant to implement this policy even in light of legislation from the Israeli Knesset such as the Regularization Bill in January 2017 immediately following UNSC Resolution 223.  Letters such as this one sent to Leader May/Green Party of Canada during “Holy Week” were sent prepared by the Coalition speaking to the blatant ignoring of the party’s own policy and calling them to account.

Two Student Groups: Supreme Court of BDS Ground Breaking Ruling and a 76% vote for boycott and divestment

Two student groups led the way with BDS work.

On March 30, 2017, the SPHR at University of British Columbia had a ground-breaking victory when a British Columbia Supreme Court judge brought down this ruling and dismissed a case to stop a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) referendum.

At the University of Western King’s College 76% of the students casting votes voted “yes: on a referendum calling for  lobbying the King’s administration to boycott and divest from companies complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians.

Labour: Unifor

Unifor, the largest private union in Canada was the first private union to support BDS with a motion passed at their Convention in August 2017.  The Coalition joined in congratulating Unifor.

Political: the New Democratic Party

During the summer/fall many Coalition members were providing support for Niki Ashton’s campaign for the New Democratic Party leader as she spoke in support of BDS in her foreign policy platform.

Following the election of Jagmeet Singh as federal leader, focus shifted to bringing forward grassroots motions across the country through local electoral district associations (EDAs) and affiliates for the Convention scheduled for February 2018.  There were a number of Palestine related motions (full BDS, settlement/occupation BDS, labeling, ending siege of Gaza, military embargo, and support for the No Way to Treat a Child).  The Canadian BDS Coalition while not partisan did provide a way for NDP members within the Coalition to be in contact for mobilization, and also for reach out across the country through the Coalition to NDP members.

Academic Boycott Partial Victory: Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

In October, the first academic boycott  in Canada was achieved when the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University voted to not renew a contract with an Israeli institution. It is not clear if York University administration will follow the direction of the vote of the Faculty based on a release made by the President of York University. The Coalition joined in congratulating the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University on this partial victory.

Campaigns from the Canadian BDS Coalition Through 2017

Other campaigns undertaken by the Canadian BDS Coalition included:

The TSO Don’t Play for Israeli Apartheid campaign in the Spring of 2017 which saw over 1 K signatures being added within a few days to a petition, letters sent to the TSO members, administration and board, as well as Roy Thomson Hall;, and an action in Toronto when the TSO did a pre-Israel tour concert.  Work was undertaken by the Coalition working with Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and a number of US organizations and local groups on a campaign related to the IPO (Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra) North-American campaign, but when a local Toronto group chose to do an independent action when the IPO came to Toronto, the sole Canadian location in the tour, the Coalition stepped aside.  Two members of the Coalition did attend with Adalah-New York action at Carnegie Hall when the iPO played in NYC in October 2017.

In January 2017 the Coalition worked with several Canadian groups and Adalah-NY and other US group on a campaign to say no to the Israeli government cultural ambassador Batsheva playing in North America.  Actions were held in several cities in Canada including Montreal and Toronto.  Also, venues where Batsheeva has played in the past were contacted across Canada urging them to not host state of Israel cultural ambassadors.

A key campaign of the Canadian BDS Coalition was Unplug from Israeli Apartheid Bryan Adams campaign.  The Coalition worked with Artists for Palestine in the UK and was in touch with over 50 BDS groups internationally with getting support from various countries such as Malaysian, Jordan, Austria and Israel. Boycott from Within (Israel) asked Bryan Adams to contact them.  During the campaign Feldman, Adam’s agency had indicated there would be a meeting with a delegation from the Canadian BDS Coalition, however this never materialized despite follow up.   This campaign also involved contacting many Canadian artists showing that there is much work to do to build up understanding within the Canadian artist community in regard to BDS.

In October 2017, Roger Waters played in seven cities across Canada. The Coalition had a presence in all cities at Roger Waters concerts providing information pickets about BDS at the concerts, as well as a number of the B’nai Brith screenings of their “Wish you weren’t here Roger Waters” films across the country.  In Vancouver a finale event to the Canadian tour with a thousand people join to hear Roger Water speak about BDS.  Contact with other groups in Australia and several locations in Europe that are working to have a similar approach during Roger Waters concerts in their area during 2018.

The Coalition followed up on social media when the Toronto Sun pulled down an article written by Stephen Ellis of Toronto BDS the day following its publication.

During the year, the Coalition joined in supporting actions related to: #HandsOffAlQuds across the country following the US Trump Administration decision to name Jerusalem the capital of the jewish state of Israel, the #HandsOffAlAsqa when during the summer the Al Asqa was closed; and the prisoners’ strike in the Spring. At least 75 Canadians from coast to coast joined in days of fast in support as well as actions happening across the country.

When Omar Barghouti was arrested the Coalition released a statement of solidarity.

Several multi-organizational letters and/or letters that the Coalition initiated were sent to the liberal government, including this one. Also to the Green Party of Canada when they did not implement or speak to their own policy approved at their Special General Meeting (December 2016) and ratified by their membership in February 2017 (see above).

During the year, the Coalition also provided support to those who were attacked for their work related to BDS and Palestine reaching out to offer support.  A campaign was put in place to support UOIT/Durham College SJP in Oshawa when they were attacked following zionist project attacks to silence them.

Tools used included four Canadian BDS Coalition Change,org petitions related to Batsheva, Bryan Adams, TSO, and Air Canada.  These petitions saw over 3500 signatures.

Palestine has called for a clear focus on sanctions, and the Coalition sees this as especially important in Canada given the relationship with Canada and Israel.  Even as the Liberal Trudeau government has taken power in the Fall 2016 election the tone may have shift to be a bit more civil, but the policy direction is essentially undifferentiated from the Harper Conservative Administrations.

In Ontario, in May 2016, a bi-party (Conservative & Liberal) private members anti-BDS bill was put forth, although not passed.  At this point Premier Wynne said she would come forward with consensus legislation in the Fall 2016 sitting.  There was strong advocacy to meet with Ontario MPPs during the summer/fall but all three parties pretty much shutout setting up meetings in this regard.  On November 30, 2016, the anti-BDS Motion 36 was presented.  Following this the NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh did agree to a meeting of a delegation from the Canadian BDS Coalition.  The NDP had voted against the motion on the basis of defending free speech but not in regard to the principles of equity, freedom and justice for all people including those of Palestine.  Work carried on through 2017, with a multi-organization comprehensive brief to the newly establish Ontario anti-racism directorate, along with a separate submission from member of the Coalition, Independent Jewish Voices.  Work was undertaken to monitor and raise concerns related to shifted directions to the anti-racism legislation that was focused on feedback from pro-Israel lobby during committee taking away from the resources for those groups which had been identified during the cross province consultation, particularly, black and indigenous.  There was not mention of islamophobia but anti-semitism and no mention of people of colour other than black and indigenous.  Some changes were made in the final legislation.

Also action and support took place in regard to both proactive municipal work, and towards counter-narratives of the zionist anti-BDS action within municipalities.

BNC Campaigns

The Coalition supported the following BNC campaigns during 2017:

The Boycott HP campaign through the social media campaign, with actions including in Calgary and Vancouver, and in writing letters to HP/HPE head offices and to various levels of governments through freedom of information requests and letters.  A letter was sent to the federal government which insisted this was not a procurement request and deferred it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who did not answer. In November during International Week of Global Boycott HP, Canada participated through the social media campaign.

Other campaigns supported include:

The Hyundai End its Complicity with Israel campaign of Israel Boycott within (1948).

Paypal which is also a campaign that was promoted by a friend of the Canadian BDS Coalition, the United Church of Canada.

Air BnB  which was promoted by social media, including in the blitz that happened through twitter.  Canadian media, politicians and organizations were tweeted from the @BDS_Coalition twitter account.

Red Card FIFA  was promoted on social media.

Goldman Sachs/Open Shuhada Street was promoted on social media, and several info pickets in Canada.  Plans for an action related to the Canadian Head Office were deferred until 2018 due to short planning time.

Even as the Coalition is focused on being a unifying voice for BDS in Canada, local groups also have specific emphases in their campaigns. Organizations have specific mandates and the Coalition is not intended to in taking away from these; in fact, the opposite, the Coalition is meant to provide a stronger voice for all Canadian organizations that support the BNC call. 

Several new groups were formed/revived during 2017, and became members of the Canadian BDS Coalition.  The Niagara BDS  Coalition formed after three pro-Israel national lobby groups attended the June 8, 2017 Region of Niagara Council meeting, resulting in the passing of the first anti-BDS municipal resolution in Canada.  Work continues to build education and action towards reversing this draconian resolution that condemns the actions of those who support equity, freedom and justice for all people including Palestine in Niagara Region.

The Toronto BDS Action group was formed in September 2017 and is an active member of the Canadian BDS Coalition deciding to support the work of a comprehensive consumer economic boycott list for Canada that can be locally updated by local groups.

Local campaigns in regard to Remax, Quebec Hydro and Israeli wine continue..

There were a number of Freedom of Information and Access to Privacy Request put in through the year including to City of Toronto and Mississauga, anhttps://jonathankuttab.org/d a comprehensive set of requests to about ½ the Ontario Ministries.

Also several depuations were made during the year include one by Toronto BDS to the City of Toronto executive committee which had a motion targeted at cancelling as Al Quds as a white  supremacist action! Follow up is currently under way with the city of Toronto including a complaint to the City of Toronto Integrity Commissioner based on the Councillor who was making this motion telling the deputant to get lost.

After the Quebec terrorist mass shooting in the mosque, the Canadian BDS Coalition and members signed a number of endorsements related to specific actions denouncing white supremacy and islamophobia, and endorsed the forming of the Organization Committee Against White Supremacy and Islamophobia which became the SAFE: Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere, and now has several chapters forming across the county.

The Coalition had one rep who attended the Anti-War Conference in Toronto (International League of People’s Struggles) in August 2017.

Two members of the Coalition attended Michael Lynk’s report as special rapporteur to the UN for occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in October 2017.  They also met with various NGO from Palestine, the US and other places both individually and through planned meetings.  As well, the set up a meeting with the Canadian UN Ambassador, Blanchard’s office, meeting with a senior staff member who did understand the situation, and did encourage people to come to meet with the office when they are in NYC.

Social Media Presence

A key focus has been to get social media presence with the Coalition through:

Web Site.  https://bdscoalition.ca/ Scott Harris has taken the lead to update the site, along with John Turnbull and Tyler Levitan.

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BDSCoalition.

Twitter account https://twitter.com/BDS_Coalition, @BCS_Coalition.

As we move forward for 2018 and byeond, we focus on the words of Omar Barghouti’s call for the South African Moment to get the Israeli boots off Palestine’s Neck.