Peter Power The Canadian Press The incident aimed at challenging the party's position on the Israeli conflict -Palestinian then led to a disruption of continued debate on resolutions put forward by delegates.
Delegates demonstrated in the corridor of the convention center where the major NDP meeting is taking place in Hamilton, Ontario, just as party leader Jagmeet Singh was giving a speech to galvanize and rally activists.
The incident aimed at challenging the party's position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict subsequently led to a disruption of continued debate on resolutions put forward by delegates.
New Democrats stood up and raised their voices to denounce the way the senior ranks of the party managed the demonstration, thus burying the voices of the MPs and the party representative moderating the discussions.
Assemblywoman Heather McPherson, who is the New Democratic Party's (NDP) foreign affairs critic, urged delegates to stop “yelling at each other.”
Visibly emotional, she defended the position expressed by her political party in recent days, pleading that the NDP denounce all forms of human rights violations, whether on the Israeli or Palestinian side.
People who demonstrated on the sidelines of Mr. Singh's speech say the NDP is not doing enough to defend Palestinian rights.
A member of the socialist caucus of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Barry Weisleder told The Canadian Press that several demonstrators began shouting “Free Palestine! “.
He said this was not his initiative, but that he agreed with the message they were sending.
According to Jennifer Howard, head of Mr. Singh's office, the demonstrators were not delegates.
“Some delegates left the [congress plenary] room to join them and the people who showed up [initially] might or might not be party members,” she said.
< p>She said the delegates who joined the protesters contravened the NDP's policy on harassment.
Ms Howard said the accreditation of four delegates had been withdrawn. It was not immediately clear whether this meant that delegates only had their speaking and voting rights revoked during debate on the resolutions, but were still allowed access to the conference center rooms.
Asked by journalists whether the harassment policy could be broad-based, Mr. Singh did not answer the question directly.
He argued that 'he could not go far in his comments since he was not present during the demonstration since he was giving a speech.
However, he said he wanted to create a healthy environment for everyone and free from harassment, in general.
Hamilton police indicated on the social network X (formerly Twitter) that they are conducting an investigation into an attack on a security guard that occurred on the sidelines of the NDP congress. According to the police force, the alleged facts occurred during the demonstration which took place at the convention center and which brought together “25 to 30 people”.
Mr. Singh expressed concern, in a press scrum, about the alleged facts.
Mr. Weisleder believes he was “falsely accused” by senior NDP leaders of disrupting the convention. According to him, a senior member of the political party tried to prevent him from entering the plenary hall of the congress, which he denounced as “illegitimate”.
The incident appeared to demonstrate the fault lines within the NDP ranks in terms of the support that should be expressed for the Palestinian people. Some criticize the party for not sufficiently condemning Israel's actions.
Mr. Singh addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his speech, delivered a few minutes before submitting to a traditional vote of confidence among NDP members. “There can be no justification for the torture, murder and sexual violence committed by Hamas,” he said.
He was careful to point out that the war in the Middle East is causing victims in both Israel and Palestine.
“We must call for an immediate end to the killing of innocent civilians in Gaza,” he said. he continued. The crowd of delegates in the room immediately applauded wildly, with party activists rising to their feet in a standing ovation.
Later Saturday, delegates passed an emergency resolution to what the NDP calls for is “an end to Israel’s total siege of Gaza, which is prohibited under international law.”
“New Democrats call on Canada to advocate for the release of all hostages […], [to] demand a ceasefire and vital humanitarian aid for the residents of Gaza, (to) support the investigations of the ICC and the ICJ into war crimes”, we can read in the adopted resolution.
The debates surrounding this resolution took place without fanfare, which contrasted with the tone of the incisive exchanges that occurred earlier.
Around dinner time, a NDP source told The Canadian Press that they were worried about the turn the debate could take. This person stressed that the choice of a single word rather than another was likely to derail the discussion.
This source spoke on condition of anonymity in order to make the point more freely his concerns.
Vote of confidence
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh garnered 81% support in his traditional vote of confidence in his leadership on Saturday as his party's national convention continues in Hamilton, Ontario.
In the senior ranks of the party, there was no hiding the optimism that the leader would obtain a solid level of support from the delegates, on day two of the big meeting of the NDP activist base.
< p>In the end, Mr. Singh received several percentage points less than his previous scores.
The NDP leader, who took over as leader of the party in 2017, received a score of 87% in April 2021. He previously received a support rate of 91% in 2018.
Despite the decline in popularity, Singh told reporters he had received a “strong mandate” from delegates. He believes that the message they sent him is to demand more from the minority government of Justin Trudeau, with whom he is linked by an agreement of support and trust.
« I want us to use the power we have to ensure that Ottawa works for everyone — rather than for the ultra-rich,” said Mr. Singh to the delegates. , shortly before they began to vote.
The leader of the NDP devoted most of his speech to attacking the Liberals of Justin Trudeau, but also the Conservatives of Pierre Poilievre, the accusing in particular of having aggravated the housing crisis by their inaction.
With information from Mickey Djuric The Canadian Press