Ontario MPP Sarah Jama is pushing back against a Tory motion to have her censured by sending Premier Doug Ford a cease-and-desist letter.
On October 19, Jama penned a letter to Ford, denouncing him for “defamatory” remarks that accuse her of being anti-Semitic, reported CP24.
On October 11, Ford called for the Hamilton-Centre MPP’s resignation, citing comments Jama made about the Israel-Hamas war in a post to X.
Ford, in his statement to social media, claimed she supported “the rape and murder of innocent Jewish people.”
Jama demanded an apology Thursday from the premier with a retraction by next week, stating the comments have caused serious reputational harm.
The MPP prefaced her statement last week on Palestinian grievances, where she condemned the “violence and retaliation rooted in settler colonialism” that killed “far too many innocent people.”
She also called for the end of “all occupation of Palestinian land,” as well as an end to “apartheid” in the region.
NDP leader Marit Stiles has asked Jama to retract the post but to no avail. Instead, the NDP MPP pinned her statement to the top of her X feed.
When asked about the letter, Stiles provided no comment other than to “call out this government for repeatedly and cynically fanning the flames of division.”
“We always condemn and we will continue to condemn anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian attacks. Hate in any forum has no place in our party.”
Israeli bombardments since the October 7 attacks by Hamas have killed at least 2,778 people in Gaza, according to its Health Ministry.
The MPP did not directly condemn Hamas for slaughtering over 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals from some 41 countries at the time.
Jama denied all claims of bigotry towards the Jewish people and reiterated that she is not a terrorist sympathizer.
Hamas, the governing body in the Gaza Strip, has been recognized as a terrorist organization by the federal government since 2002.
At the request of the legislature, Jama apologized Monday after Tory House leader Paul Calandra advocated her censure at the legislature and called her an anti-Semite.
“I heard many voices yesterday raising concerns about my post,” she wrote. “I hear them — and above all, I understand the pain that many Jewish and Israeli Canadians, including my own constituents, must be feeling. I apologize.”
Jama also condemned the “terrorism by Hamas” while noting that she maintains her belief that “Israel’s […] siege on civilians in Gaza […] is wrong.”
The province tabled the motion to have her censured on Monday and received consideration in the legislature two days later. The debate continued well into Thursday with no resolution as of writing.
A vote is expected to take place on October 23, reported CP24.
If passed, it would call on the Speaker not to recognize Jama in the House “until the Member retracts and deletes her statement on social media and makes an apology in her place in the House.”
Jama has been absent from Queen’s Park all week, as she is spending time with her family.