by the Executive of Hamilton and District Labour Council
It was with sadness and frustration that the Hamilton and District Labour Council read that our Hamilton Centre Member of Provincial Parliament, Sarah Jama, has been removed from the Ontario NDP Caucus.
The Hamilton and District Labour Council has been a long-time member of the party, holding seats at the party’s Provincial Council and conventions. We will soon have the opportunity to decide on the future of our relationship with the party.
In a statement last week, the HDLC “called for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East and re-affirmed our position for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories.”
This occupation of Palestine didn’t start or end with a single Hamas attack in 2023. Palestinians have been oppressed in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem for 75 years. That MPP Jama was called out for a statement exposing the continuing historical apartheid and colonial occupation instead of just the events of the previous couple of days, was definitely her prerogative, factually accurate, and has been proven to be on point in the intervening time.
Two weeks ago Jama called for peace and a “ceasefire and de-escalation”. Now other politicians across the country are joining those ranks upon seeing what Jama suspected was coming as a response to the Hamas attack, including ongoing barrages of missiles against Palestinian homes and a hospital in Gaza.
It seems being prescient scores a MPP no points in the Ontario NDP or Ontario in general. Calling for peace results in a punitive action. We’d hoped for better from the party.
If the Ontario NDP is going to solve its PR problems through a historical reading of the conflict in the events of the past two weeks only, then perhaps it does not deserve to have a member of Sarah Jama’s calibre in their ranks.
For decades, the party has done everything it could to quash any discussion of the apartheid and occupation at every convention and Council meeting only to hurriedly piece together an emergency motion for the most recent federal convention.
We urge the party to make a final effort to repair its relationship with Jama, Palestinian Ontarians, and those who stand in solidarity with them, including the working class people of the Hamilton and District Labour Council who also stand firmly by our Member of Provincial Parliament from Hamilton Centre. We will work to ensure she is re-elected whether she stands under a party banner or not.
A call for peace is not cause for punishment.