March 18, 2024

Statement on Voting in Favour of the Motion on Palestinian Statehood

My father used to go to a segregated pub in London, England. On one side there were English Scots and on the other were the Irish and people of colour, minus Black people who were not allowed at all.

I mention the above story as a story of our collective journeys to where we are today. A story of values and change. A story of whom we value.

A story of Canada where we treated First Nations as second class on territory. A story of Canada where we barred immigrants based on race and barred Jews based on religion to the extent that they were returned to Europe in their desperate hour of need just to die in concentration camps.

We have turned a blind eye to Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and now to Gaza.

We look to be careful with our words and crafting careful solutions where there are none.

In the face of injustice in this world, we have a history of standing up and speaking out. Lester Pearson contributed to the creation of a United Nations peacekeeping force over 70 years ago. Brian Mulroney was vocal in his opposition to apartheid in South Africa and Jean Chretien said no to the invasion of Iraq.  

We are at a crossroads today as children are starving in the Gaza Strip. There is a failure of international diplomacy when the United States and allies have to airdrop food supplies, when non-profits are sending food by sea.

This is no longer a political decision but rather one of our collective values — and our moral standing.  I feel for the Israeli losses on October 7th, but in the name of self defense killing over 30,000 civilians, wounding tens of thousands more and starving 2 million Palestinians is not self defense.

As a Canadian Parliamentarian, I thought our shared journey to today would have taught us some shared values of compassion and a love for all our brothers and sisters regardless of race or religion.

It is unfortunate but clear to me that too many Canadians are selective in application of moral principles. I wish we lived in a world where the colour of skin plays no role. I wish Brown and Black babies had the same value as every other child. I wish for equality; I wish for peace; I wish for the best for you and your family.


George Chahal, M.P.

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