The Ontario government has tabled a motion to censure an NDP MPP over “anti-Semitic” comments following the devastating terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel.
On October 16, Tory House leader Paul Calandra called for Hamilton Centre MPP Sarah Jama to formally apologize and delete her post on X that called for the end to “all occupation of Palestinian land.”
Jama 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.”
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 their government for slaughtering over 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals from some 41 countries at the time.
Hamas, the governing body in the Gaza Strip, has been recognized as a terrorist organization by the federal government since 2002.
The province tabled the motion on Monday and is expected to be considered in the legislature on Tuesday, reported the CBC.
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.”
While Jama has issued a written apology for her comments, her original statement remains on her X feed.
NDP leader Marit Stiles has asked Jama to retract the post but to no avail.
“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.”
Calandra and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have asked Stiles to boot her from caucus, but she declined to do so, calling it “a drastic step that shouldn't be taken lightly.”
She said the MPP did not attend the legislature Monday as she needed to take some time off to contemplate the recent events in the Middle East.
“This is a leader who had an opportunity to show leadership, to stand up to the 'anti-Semetic hard left' of her party.” said Calandra Monday during Question Period.
“She has failed on leadership on her first test Mr. Speaker, showing that she is not fit to hold the office of premier ever,” he added.
Stiles immediately told reporters after Question Period that Jama has since apologized for her remarks.
“I want to focus our energy and our time on the call for peace,” she reiterated. “We urge [Ford] not to use this horrific conflict for his own political gain.”
“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.”
The following day, Ford condemned the attacks on Israel, calling it “terrorism in its darkest form.”
“Each of us watched in horror as children, the elderly, even Holocaust survivors, were stolen, beaten and slaughtered at the hands of Hamas,” he said.
“These attacks, they're not just another conflict on the other side of the world. The impact is being felt throughout the country, including here in Ontario.”