The Hamilton Spectator

Canada won’t shift foreign policy, Joly says

- STEPHANIE TAYLOR AND DYLAN ROBERTSON

Canada will continue to back a two-state solution between Israel and its Palestinia­n neighbours, but it’s not about to change its foreign policy based on an NDP push to “officially recognize” the state of Palestine, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Monday.

Joly staunchly defended the government’s response to the IsraelHama­s war as MPs in the House of Commons debated a New Democrat motion calling on the Liberals to recognize Palestinia­n statehood.

The ongoing war has opened significan­t fissures within the Liberal caucus, members of which discussed their positions on the motion during a morning call ahead of the debate. The New Democrats and Liberals were holding talks over the motion and its various demands, but as of Monday afternoon, no changes had been made.

The non-binding motion, introduced by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, calls on the government to demand an immediate ceasefire, as well as the release of hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip.

It also urges the governing Liberals to lift the cap on temporary resident visas for Palestinia­ns still trapped in Gaza and to “suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel.”

Members of Parliament were expected to vote on the motion sometime Monday night.

During earlier debate on the motion, Joly told the House in French that Canada has a strict system for approving export permits and that it has not approved one from Israel since Jan. 8.

Canada is also aware of the violence being perpetuate­d by extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Joly said. The government is prepared to sanction those responsibl­e for inflicting such violence against Palestinia­ns, she added.

Joly also said the government believes a hostage deal must be reached and a humanitari­an ceasefire establishe­d, and that aid be allowed to enter the besieged Gaza Strip more freely.

The ongoing war has opened significan­t fissures within the Liberal caucus

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