NDP leadership contest could shape future Palestine debate

February 9, 2017

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Author Yves Engler has written a new article on how the issue of Palestine could be an important issue in the NDP contest to replace Thomas Mulcair.

Will Conservative party puffery or NDP principle determine Canada’s Palestine policy?

The Conservative party leadership campaign has unleashed pro-Israel puffery, but it is the NDP race that could have greater impact on Canada’s Palestine policy.

Aping Donald Trump, former Conservative minister Kellie Leitch recently asked her Twitter followers to “join me in calling on the Government of Canada to immediately move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.” This would likely contravene international law.

For her part, former cabinet minister and fellow leadership candidate Lisa Raitt dubbed the recently passed UN Security Council Resolution (2334) on Palestine “disgusting.” Offering Israel a diplomatic blank cheque, Raitt said her government would make sure Canada’s voice was heard “loud and clear all over the world as Israel’s best friend and ally — no matter what.”

Another former member of cabinet running to be party leader labelled most of the world anti-Semitic. Chris Alexander called Resolution 2334, which passed 14-0 with a U.S. abstention, “yet another round of UN anti-Semitism.”

A Facebook ad for former foreign minister and leadership frontrunner Maxime Bernier was titled “my foreign policy is simple: put Canada first.” It linked to a petition saying, “foreign policy must focus on the security and prosperity of Canadians — not pleasing the dysfunctional United Nations…which for years has disproportionately focused its activities on condemning Israel.” Evidently, putting “Canada first” means advancing Israel’s diplomatic interests.

While “I heart Israel” and “I really heart Israel” bile flows out of Republican Party North, it is the NDP contest that’s more likely to shape the Palestine debate going forward. Since party members rejected leader Thomas Mulcair, who once said “I am an ardent supporter of Israel in all situations and in all circumstances,” the Canadian Jewish News has run an editorial, front-page story and column expressing concern about how the NDP’s leftward shift will impact Israel policy. Read the rest of this entry »


Why BDS Matters: A Town Hall Discussion

September 26, 2016

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Why BDS Matters: A Town Hall Discussion
Wednesday, October 26 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 2-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

[If you’re in Calgary, here’s the Facebook event page for the October 27 town hall in Calgary]

At its August 2016 convention in Ottawa the Green Party of Canada passed a policy resolution to become the first (and only) party with representation in the House of Commons to publicly support elements of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to respect international law, and oppose efforts to “prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.”

The Green Party quickly came under intense pressure from pro-Israeli organizations for its democratic adoption of the resolution. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May reacted by expressing her disagreement with the resolution, firing three members of her shadow cabinet who publicly supported the resolution, and calling a “special general meeting” on December 3-4 in Calgary to revisit, and potentially reverse, the resolution.

This public town hall is an opportunity for students, the general public, members of all political parties, and Green Party members of all perspectives on the resolution to learn more about the reality and aims of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), why the Green Party resolution is significant, and what can be done to support BDS and the resolution.

The evening will feature presentations by Dimitri Lascaris, former Justice Critic of the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet and author and submitter of the resolution; and Yves Engler, author of the new book, A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, followed by ample time for discussion and debate from attendees.

This is a free event, donations are welcome.

Organized by Palestine Solidarity Network and the Campaign to Defend the Green Party of Canada’s BDS Policy.

About the speakers:

Dimitri Lascaris was the author and submitter of the Green Party resolution on “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” and was justice critic in the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet before he was removed in September by leader Elizabeth May.

He graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991, and is a practicing lawyer called to the bars of Ontario, the State of New York, and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine identified Mr. Lascaris as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine identified him as one of the 50 most influential people in Canadian business.

Lascaris is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unity Project for the Relief of Homelessness, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Real News Network, an independent, not-for-profit media organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. He previously served as a Board member of Toronto 350.org.

In the 2015 federal election, he ran as the Green Party candidate in the riding of London West.

Yves Engler, the former vice-president of the Concordia Student Union, is a Montréal-based activist and author. the former vice-president of the Concordia Student Union, is a Montréal-based activist and author. He is the author of the recently released book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, and has published eight other books including The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy, The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non Fiction in the Quebec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards), and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid.

Chris Alders is a former broadcaster, journalist, publisher and professional political organizer. He is currently a Senior Policy Adviser to a company in Calgary. A native of Nova Scotia, Chris holds three degrees in political science, two undergraduate from Acadia University and a graduate degree from Brock University. His research has focused on political leadership and democracy. He is a former Atlantic Canada Organizer for the Green Party of Canada and has participated in 37 campaigns with the Green Party vote going up 36 times. In the summer of 2015, he was a finalist for the position of Campaign Manager of Jill Stein for President. He has been a member of the Green Party of Canada since 2004.

Getting there:

The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) is located on the southwest corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map). ECHA is adjacent to the Jubliee Auditorium.

The building’s north entrance is closest to Room 2-190.

Parking

Parking is available at the Jubilee car park (map) and just across the street on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street the Education car park (map).

Transit

Take the LRT to the Health Sciences Centre Station, which is located just south of ECHA or take Edmonton transit to the 114 Street and 89 Avenue stop of the University of Alberta bus loop (map) and walk just south to ECHA.

Bike

Ample bicycle parking is located near the north entrance of ECHA.


March 24 IAW 2016 Event

March 24, 2016

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BDS, Dissidence, and the Fight for Free Speech
Featuring Nisha Nath and Dax D’Orazio
Thursday, March 24 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 1-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

On February 22 the Parliament of Canada passed by a margin of 229-51 (with 57 absences or abstentions) a Conservative motion to “reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement” and “call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

The motion was the just the latest in a string of international moves aimed at slowing the rapid growth of support for the global Palestinian-led BDS movement. More than two dozen nation, state, or local laws against BDS have been put forward in the United States since 2015, the UK recently banned publicly funded institutions from participating in BDS, and Israel itself has had an anti-BDS law in place since 2011.

But these official moves are just the most recent attack on free speech related to BDS. For years, BDS campaigns by Palestinian solidarity activists on university campuses have been stifled or silenced by anti-boycott campaigns.

This panel will explore the aims of the BDS movement, official reactions to it, the relevance of the anti-BDS backlash in the context of increasingly neoliberal and militarized spheres of power, and what the implications are for broader movements of marginalized/oppressed/dissident people’s movements and free speech.

* While PSN cannot provide childcare for this event, this event is child inclusive so children of all ages are welcome in the room during the panel.

Nisha Nath is a long-time supporter of Palestine Solidarity Network-Edmonton and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Nisha is also a contributing editor with Voices-voix and the Dissent, Democracy and the Law Research Network. Her research looks at race, security, dissent and citizenship in Canada.

Dax D’Orazio is former member of Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) at Carleton University in Ottawa, which campaigned for the university to divest its pension fund from four companies complicit in human rights violations in Palestine. He is now a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta.


Getting There

The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) is located on the southwest corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map). ECHA is adjacent to the Jubliee Auditorium.

The building’s north entrance is closest to Room 1-190.

Parking

Parking is available at the Jubilee car park (map) and just across the street on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street the Education car park (map).

Transit

Take the LRT to the Health Sciences Centre Station, which is located just south of ECHA.

Take Edmonton transit to the 114 Street and 89 Avenue stop of the University of Alberta bus loop (map) and walk just south to ECHA.

Cycling

Ample bicycle parking is located near the north entrance of ECHA.


Refugees are Welcome in Edmonton!

September 7, 2015

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Refugees Are Welcome in Edmonton!
Vigil and Rally
Tuesday, September 8 (6:30 pm)
Front Steps, Alberta Legislature
(10800 97 Avenue NW)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

As part of a the national #refugeeswelcome cross-Canada mobilizations,  a memorial candlelight vigil and rally is being held in Edmonton in solidarity with Syrian refugees and to call for accountability from the Canadian government. This event will be held on Treaty 6 Territory.

“There are almost 60 million displaced people around the globe this year, and over 45,000 people have died crossing borders since 2000 yet the Canadian government only assisted 5,790 refugees to resettle in 2013. Meanwhile the Canadian government deported 117,531 people between 2006 and 2014, including to countries with official moratoriums on deportation, the majority refused refugees.”

For more information on Canada’s immigration system, check out Never Home: Legislating Discrimination in Canadian Immigration.


Canada’s Tax-deductible Support for Israel’s Crimes

September 3, 2014

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Yves Engler’s latest article for the Electronic Intifada.

Canada’s Tax-deductible Support for Israel’s Crimes

Yves Engler | 22 August 2014

When is a Canadian who leaves this country to join a foreign military force and participate in the killing of innocent civilians, including children, called a “terror tourist” and sent to jail? The answer is: only when that person joins a military force the Conservative government disagrees with.

Numerous ministers in the current federal government have loudly denounced the radicalization of Canadian youth in foreign wars. Last year, the Conservatives passed a law that sets a maximum fifteen year prison sentence for “leaving or attempting to leave Canada” to commit terrorism. Jason Kenney, the minister for multiculturalism, recently said the government is trying “to monitor networks that recruit and radicalize youth.”

Last month, Somali-Canadian Mohamed Hersi was sentenced to ten years in prison for attempting to join the al-Shabab militia in Somalia. Arrested at Toronto’s Pearson airport before leaving, Hersi was not found guilty of committing or plotting a specific act of violence, but according to the presiding judge, was “poised to become a terror tourist.”

Yet our government does nothing to hundreds of other Canadians who join a different foreign military force which daily terrorizes millions of people and often uses explosives to kill thousands — most of whom are civilians. Read the rest of this entry »


CANPAL Eid and Gaza Solidarity Dinner

July 23, 2014

Gaza-Palestine

CANPAL Eid and Gaza Solidarity Dinner
Monday, July 28 (6:30 pm)
Canadian Druze Centre
14304-134 Avenue
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Our friends at the Canada Palestine Cultural Association (CANPAL) is hosting its annual Eid dinner and fundraiser. It will take place on the first day of Eid (Monday, July 28th or Tuesday July 29th).

Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children 14 and under. All proceeds will go to helping the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza through a donation to Islamic Relief Canada.

To purchase tickets or for more information about the dinner, please contact a member of the Canada Palestine Cultural Association.


Call-in For Gaza

July 21, 2014

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Want to do something to help stop the Israeli attack on Gaza? Take a minute on July 23 or 24 to participate in the cross-Canada Call-in For Gaza to flood the leaders of all four main Canadian political parties with phone calls demanding they call for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and an end to the assault on Gaza.

For updates and more, join the Call-in For Gaza Facebook event.

Call now! (and/or send an email or fax) to:

Stephen Harper: stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca
613-992-4211 (Ottawa office)
403-253-7990 (Calgary office)
Fax: 403-253-8203 or 613-941-6900

Justin Trudeau: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
613-995-8872 (Ottawa office)
514-277-6020 (Quebec office)
fax: 613-995-9926 or 514-277-3454

Thomas Mulcair: thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca
613-995-7224 (Ottawa office)
514-736-2727 (Montreal office)
fax: 613-995-4565 or 514-736-2726

Elizabeth May: Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca
613-996-1119 (Ottawa office)
1-800-667-9188 (Sidney office)
fax: 613-996-0850 or 250-657-2004