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Kelowna representatives silent amid calls for cease fire in Israel, Gaza

About 60 B.C. politicians have signed an open letter to the Canadian government calling for a ceasefire
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Israeli soldiers walk past houses destroyed by Hamas militants in Kibbutz Be’eri, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. Israel’s consul general in Toronto says Canadian-Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver has been found dead. She was previously believed to be taken hostage in the Hamas attack on her community near the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ariel Schalit

Three Parliamentary e-petitions calling on the Government of Canada to demand a cease-fire and condemn the recent militant actions of Israel have amassed more than 250 thousand signatures. However, Kelowna’s Members of Parliament Dan Albas and Tracy Gray will not comment on whether or not they support the petitions and if they will urge the government to call for a ceasefire in Israel.

Parliamentary e-petitions are used to draw attention to an issue of public interest or concern, such as the conflict in the Middle East. The petitions are first authorized by a member of parliament and then undergo a preliminary review. Once approved, the petitions are available for signature by Canadian residents for up to 120 days.

If a petition collects 500 legitimate signatures, it will be presented to the House of Commons. Then, the government must table a response.

READ MORE: Call for Action: Kelowna residents march for the dead in Palestine

MP Alexandre Boulerice for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie in Quebec, has endorsed two petitions with more than 250 thousand signatures in total, which call on the Canadian Government to, above all else “take any measure necessary to protect civilians, both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The petitions also call on the government to cease trade relations, install an arms embargo, condemn the “ongoing war crimes,” ask that Israel lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and authorize the creation of a humanitarian corridor.

MP Salma Zahid representing Scarborough Centre Ontario has also endorsed a petition calling for an an immediate ceasefire, and the entrance of humanitarian aid into the Gaza strip.

The three e-petitions are available to view and sign at ourcommons.ca/petitions.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he urges Israel to use ‘maximum restraint’ as the war with Hamas in Gaza continues. Then, on Nov. 16, Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s support for a ‘two-state solution,’ for the state of Israel and Israel’s right to self-defence.

READ MORE: Trudeau reconfirms support to Israel in wake of Netanyahu rebuke

The United Nations has requested an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all civilian hostages.

The most recent reports from the United Nations state that more than 9,500 people – 4,600 of them children– have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, when an organization called Hamas, which is based in Gaza, launched an attack. The attack resulted in the death of more than 1,200 people and approximately 240 civilians were taken hostage and are likely being kept in Gaza. The Canadian government lists Hamas as a terrorist organization.

When asked for comment on the Parliamentary Petitions the office of Dan Albas, Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, said that while he is unable to comment, “MP Albas has been vocal in his support for Israel and the right of any democratic country to defend itself against terrorist attacks. MP Albas also supports the rights of Canadians to petition their government on issues of importance to them.”

When asked for further clarification the office of Albas said “he won’t be commenting further.”

The office of Tracy Gray, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, did not reply to interview requests regarding the petitions.

Approximately 60 elected officials representing municipal governments across B.C., including city council members and regional directors, have signed an open letter to the Canadian government calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

At the time of publication, no elected officials in Kelowna have signed the letter.

The letter calls for a ceasefire, unrestricted access to humanitarian aid and the release of all hostages.

The open letter contains an up-to-date list of signatures is available to view by members of the public.

READ MORE: 59 B.C. politicians sign letter calling for ceasefire in Gaza

READ MORE: Protesters demand Gaza ceasefire as Trudeau dines in Vancouver



Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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