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Anthony Housefather reflects on his future in the Liberal Party of Canada

Photo: Adrian Wyld La Presse canadienne Le député libéral Anthony Housefather s’est adressé aux journalistes à Ottawa mardi.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather is considering turning his back on the Trudeau government after the adoption of a motion for peace in the Middle East. “I think this is the first time in my parliamentary career that I have had a thought like this,” he said in Ottawa on Tuesday, the day after the adoption of the motion presented by the New Party Democratic Party (NDP).

The Montreal elected official is one of the three Liberal MPs who opposed it.

The amended motion, among other things, calls on the government to work “toward the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution” and to “cease the approval and transfer of other arms exports to Israel.”

Liberal MPs stood to applaud the NDP after the adoption of the motion, which received 204 votes in favor and 117 votes against.

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For the elected representative of the Jewish community, who has often criticized Ottawa's positions on the conflict in the Middle East, this is the straw that broke the camel's back. “Last night, when my colleagues stood up and applauded the NDP, I started thinking about whether or not I still feel like I belong. I will let you know in more detail how I feel in the coming days,” he told reporters.

He says he felt “isolated”, just like his two liberal colleagues who voted against the motion, Marco Mendicino and Ben Carr.

The motion caused quite a commotion in the House of Commons on Monday evening. The original version called for the government to “officially recognize the State of Palestine,” but it was ultimately modified through 14 amendments proposed by the Liberals. Official recognition of Palestine has been withdrawn.

The numerous last minute changes aroused the indignation of several MPs, including Mr. Housefather, who did not have the chance to debate the text before the vote. The member for Mount Royal believes that the amended motion should have been rejected by his caucus, even if he judges that it “was better” than the first version. “This motion was against Canada’s foreign policy for decades. It was really shocking for the Jewish community,” he said.

This is not the first time that the Montreal MP has criticized Ottawa's positions on the conflict in the Middle East. Before the holidays, he said he was “very disappointed” with Canada's support for a resolution presented to the United Nations General Assembly which called for a pause in hostilities in the Palestinian enclave.

Last year, he was the only one to vote against the government bill on official languages. He was then stripped of his role as parliamentary secretary. He eventually became Parliamentary Secretary to Treasury Board President Anita Anand earlier this year.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116