FIRST READING: NDP MP shares a Toronto dais with speaker echoing Hamas demands

The event was organized by Toronto4Palestine, a group that handed out candy in celebration on the day of the Oct. 7 massacres

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An NDP MP was a featured speaker at a weekend rally in Toronto that included censured Ontario representative Sarah Jama as well as Moe Jaberi, a representative of the radical anti-Israel group Toronto4Palestine. 

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Jaberi’s own speech would endorse Hamas’s official position regarding the more than 200 hostages that the terrorist group still holds in captivity in Gaza. Hamas has said it will only release the hostages in exchange for “political prisoners” — a term it often uses to refer to any Palestinian in Israeli custody, including Hamas members held on terrorism charges. 

“If you want your hostages back, you will have your hostages back only if you return all our political prisoners … the 11,000 political prisoners,” says Jaberi in a video originally posted to Instagram by Toronto4Palestine. (The Israeli Prison Service says it has around 5,000 Palestinians in custody.)  

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Jaberi was speaking from the same impromptu dais as Matthew Green, an NDP MP for Hamilton Centre, who spoke soon afterwards. Both speeches were captured by a videographer from the leftist outlet The Canada Files. 

Green’s own address began with a chant of “ceasefire now,” after which he made an argument strikingly similar to Jaberi’s, in which he equated Hamas hostages with prisoners in Israeli custody.  

“While we continue to advocate for the release of hostages — including political prisoners — the horrors unfolding in Gaza … are unconscionable,” said Green, who accused Israel of “indiscriminate” bombing and “crimes against humanity.” 

“This has been a moral reckoning for all justice and peace-loving people around the world bearing witness to the barbarity of death and destruction,” he said. 

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During the address, Green is flanked by two men covering their faces with keffiyehs. Right behind him is Fred Hahn, the head of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who has been criticized for labelling Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacres as an act of “resistance.” On the day after the attacks, Hahn released a Thanksgiving Day statement expressing his thanks for “the power of resistance around the globe.” (He has since apologized for his choice of words.)  

Also on the dais is Sarah Jama, an MPP in the Ontario Legislature who was censured and then removed from the Ontario NDP caucus after she released a statement following the Oct. 7 attacks that made no mention of Hamas’ targeting of civilians, but instead denounced Israel as an “apartheid,” “settler colonial” state. 

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The Sunday video captures Green speaking to a crowd holding up signs reading Down With Israel, “Zionism=Nazism” and “We Have Not Slept Since 1948” — a clear reference to Israel’s founding. The MP then ended his 18-minute address with a chant of “end the occupation.”  

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Toronto4Palestine, which organized the Sunday rally at which Green spoke, has been one of the primary organizers of pro-Palestinian rallies and events in the Greater Toronto Area since the Oct. 7 massacres. On the day of the massacres, in fact, the group handed out candy and displayed pro-Palestinian banners from Toronto-area overpasses.  

“The Chickens have come home to roost,” wrote the group in an Instagram post, which also praised the attacks as a “next level accomplishment.” 

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While Green referenced a Palestinian state that would exist alongside Israel, Jaberi’s speech instead called for Israel’s total destruction. To cheers, Jaberi called for “ultimate liberation” before leading a chant of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a slogan that very explicitly calls for Israel’s complete eradication from the region. 

IN OTHER NEWS

Just a couple of months after B.C. decriminalized all personal-use possession of hard drugs, it then introduced a ban on using illicit drugs next to playgrounds, schools and other sensitive locations. The ban wasn’t backed up by any discernible force; police are merely empowered to ask drug users to move along. But a group called the Harm Reduction Nurses Association is now challenging the law, arguing that it’s an infringement of drug users’ constitutional rights. As with most of these cases, it’s specifically leaning on Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees “life, liberty and security of the person.” Meanwhile, for any B.C. smokers or drinkers hoping this case might dial back one of the province’s strict rules surrounding the public consumption of tobacco or alcohol, the case only involves “illegal” drugs.

David Cameron
This newsletter tries to avoid mentioning foreign politics that don’t have any immediate connection to Canada. But in an extremely surprising move, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak just pulled David Cameron (above, left) out of the political wilderness to serve as his Foreign Secretary. Cameron was the Conservative prime minister who resigned in 2016 after the success of the Brexit vote – which Cameron had campaigned against. This is sort of like if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to stem his plummeting poll numbers by suddenly putting an 85-year-old Paul Martin in charge of the Department of Finance. Cameron won’t need to be elected as an MP, he’ll just be appointed to the House of Lords. It’s actually possible to do something similar in Canada; Trudeau could technically appoint whoever he wants to cabinet, and simply pair them with a Senate seat. Photo by Maja Smiejkowska/PA via AP

While Canadian downtowns are continuing to see huge and somewhat unprecedented rallies calling for Israel’s destruction, a new poll suggests that they are not at all indicative of public opinion writ large. The survey by Aurora Strategy Global found that 60 per cent of Canadians support Israel invading Gaza to destroy Hamas, even if they may differ on the specifics. About that same number, 57 per cent, expressed concern about the “pro-Hamas” demonstrations sweeping the country.

Election projection.
The Liberals’ public opinion free-fall is not getting any better. A new Nanos Research poll has them at 22 per cent to the Conservatives’ 40 per cent. Abacus Data, meanwhile, released the above projection that effectively sees the Liberals wiped out everywhere except a handful of urban ridings. The Conservatives are projected to win 204 seats – which would not be far off from the biggest landslide victory in Canadian history. The Green Party – including Elizabeth May’s riding of Saanich Gulf Islands – is also shown to be completely purged from the House of Commons. Photo by Abacus Data

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