Adrian Wyld La Presse Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly during a press conference in October 2023.
Émilie Bergeron – The Canadian Press and Michel Saba – The Canadian Press in Ottawa1:52 p.m.
Faced with growing pressure from elected officials, including several from her own party, who want Ottawa to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly explained Monday that Canada wants to proof of balance in his positions.
“I hear the position of several of my colleagues. I hear the fact that Canadians expect Canada to play a role that is balanced and at the same time a role that is based on our position which has always been that of being a constructive player, friend and ally of 'Israel, friend of the Palestinian people,' she said at a press conference.
The minister described the images coming from Gaza as “catastrophic”. It is currently “one of the worst places to live in the world,” she said.
Ms. Joly, who spoke from Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, added that this is why she is increasing the number of meetings with her counterparts. She discusses both the “protection of civilians”, but also achieving “more peace and stability in the region”.
A few hours earlier, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attempted to increase pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau days after 33 elected officials, including 23 Liberal backbenchers, signed a letter imploring him to call for a ceasefire to end the violence in Middle East.
- 23 Liberal MPs are now calling for a ceasefire in Gaza
- Divisions in Liberal caucus over Israeli strikes
“A growing number of MPs ask you to advocate for a ceasefire . These elected officials, including some from your own party, are adding their voices to a growing number of international calls,” Mr. Singh wrote in his own missive to Mr. Trudeau.
He is seeking an “emergency meeting” with the prime minister that would aim to “discuss how we can work together to end the violence with a ceasefire, get Canadians out of the region, ensure the safe return of all hostages and insist that international law be respected.” So far, the NDP is the only recognized federal party in the House of Commons to call for a ceasefire. Mr. Singh was asked last week whether such a position is realistic in the current context. “It’s humanistic. It's compassionate. Because we are in a situation where if the violence continues, we will have more deaths, more destruction, he responded in the press scrum. This is why we demand that all the hostages be released and a ceasefire can save lives. » In the Bloc Québécois, leader Yves-François Blanchet, who insists on “the need to neutralize Hamas,” does not see how a ceasefire could occur. “Everyone wants a ceasefire. I want a ceasefire. […] How can anyone not want a ceasefire? […] I’m just saying that, for the moment, saying it for the sake of saying it is a posture that is perhaps not realistic,” he declared. Fracture lines with the official position of Justin Trudeau's government appear publicly among the Liberal troops. “A ceasefire must be demanded,” MP Shafqat Ali told journalists last Wednesday. Mr. Ali, who represents a riding in suburban Toronto, insisted that “history shows that violence has never solved problems.” His Montreal colleague from Pierrefonds — Dollard, Sameer Zuberi, wiped away tears in front of journalists by asserting that his government should “name things clearly” regarding the bombing of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army. “We must clearly recognize that the bombs fall on innocent children, adults, elderly people, who are dropped by the Israeli military. A butcher’s shop, that’s what it is,” he said. Likewise, the MP, a Muslim, lawyer by training and former soldier trained in the Geneva conventions, refused to say whether Israel is committing war crimes, or even genocide, not without broadly emphasizing the relevance of the question. ” It's a good question. We have to ask the question,” Mr. Zuberi said, his voice trembling. Asked last Friday about the divergent points of view within his caucus, Mr. Trudeau acknowledged that they exist. He also stressed that liberal elected officials share common fears about the situation in the Middle East. “Everyone is hurting, everyone is grieving, everyone is afraid of what this means,” Mr. Trudeau said from Brampton, Ont. Conservatives, for their part, argue that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” “At the same time, we must respect international laws,” said the Conservatives’ lieutenant for Quebec, Pierre Paul-Hus. Does Israel respect them? “It’s one of the things that I think the government is having discussions with partners. »
Mr. Trudeau had a telephone discussion on Sunday with the President of the United States, Joe Biden, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak.
With information from Dylan Robertson