Member Of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan
April 25, 2016

Opposition Motion (CPC) Israel - Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement

We are fortunate to live in a country where we do not face discrimination on the basis of things like religion, sex, age or ethnic or national origin. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms entrenches this fact, that everyone is equal under Canadian law. This section of the charter reflects our deepest held values. People should not face discrimination again on the basis of religion or of ethnic or national origin.

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, advocates for actions that run entirely contrary to these Canadians values. They advocate discrimination against individuals and businesses on the basis of national origin. BDS openly calls for discrimination against and boycotts of Israeli individuals, artists, companies, organizations, academics, universities, research institutions, hospitals and technology and development projects, again, simply because they are Israelis.

   BDS advocates for discrimination against those who happen to be Israelis, and also against Canadians who hold dual Canada-Israeli citizenship. BDS seeks to discriminate against individuals for no reason other than the passport that they hold.

   George Santayana said "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Boycotts against Jews have occurred throughout history, based on lies and misinformation and on prejudicial assumptions, and we are now seeing boycotts against the world's only Jewish state, and against all citizens of that Jewish state. Is it plausible that this is really simply about a political statement, or is it not obvious that this is something much darker than political disagreement?

BDS does not advocate peace between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. On this side of the house we support negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and we support a two state solution.

   However, instead of trying to bring people together and support meaningful collaboration, BDS seeks to silence dialogue and once again single out Jews and Israelis for ill treatment. These actions do not contribute to peace, they only drive people further apart.

   Now this motion is one that I would have hoped would receive unanimous support from the House, and frankly, I am perplexed that some members are opposing it. The best that we hear from those who are disinclined to support the motion is reference to freedom of speech.

It certainly does not restrict anyone's freedoms for this House to express its support for our collective values of tolerance and inclusion, and to express our opposition to discrimination on the basis of national origin.

   In 2010, Maclean's Magazine ran a cover story calling Quebec Canada's most corrupt province. This House responded by unanimously passing a motion which expressed "its profound sadness at the prejudice displayed and the stereotypes employed by Macleon's Magazine to denigrate the Quebec nation, its history and its institutions".

   Earlier, in 2006, the Globe and Mail published a story about the shooting at Montreal's Dawson College, in which the author suggested that the province's history of linguistic strife contributed to the incident. Following that, the House unanimously passed a motion: "That, in the opinion of the House, an apology be given to the people of Quebec for the offensive remarks of Ms. Jan Wong in a Globe and Mail article regarding the recent Dawson College tragedy."

In these instances, members of all parties did not have a problem understanding that the House can express its opinion without limiting free and robust debate. As we must always ask in these cases, why treat Israel differently?

   The collaboration between Canada and Israel benefits all of us. Just this past week, my daughter Gianna and I assembled our new SodaStream machine. SodaStream has a plant in Israel, which provides good well-paying jobs to both Israelis and Palestinians. So let us stand today against racism and anti-Semitism. Let us stand in support of tolerance and inclusion, and also in support of delicious fizzing drinks.

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