Canada’s international policy on Palestine ‘watered down,’ says professor

    Canada’s glaring complicity with an apartheid state committing crimes against humanity rests with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, writes Mitrovica. (Submitted: Aljazeera)

    On March 19, the Trudeau government endorsed the NDP motion calling for the recognition of Palestinian statehood after considerable amendments. 

    While the original motion, introduced by NDP MP Heather McPherson, directly stated the recognition of Palestine, the Liberals changed it so that Canada was to “pursue the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” 

    St. Thomas University international relations professor Shaun Narine said the watering-down of this motion is emblematic of Canada’s complacency to the tragedies happening in Gaza. 

    Still, the professor said the passing of the resolution is significant. 

    “The very fact we had the vote on this, the very fact that the Liberal Party – as watered-down as the resolution was – …voted in favour of the motion speaks to the fact that they’ve been getting a lot of angry pushback, a lot of angry feedback from their own constituents.”  

    Related: Explainer: What is happening in Israel and Palestine?

    Polling indicates that the sympathies of Canadians on the war in Gaza are shifting. According to an Angus-Reid survey, 50 per cent of Canadians now believe Israel’s response to October 7 is “too heavy-handed.” 

    Polls conducted both before and after Oct. 7 show that Canadians under age 30 tend to hold views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict dramatically different from those of Canadians aged 55 or over. 

    Narine said younger people’s access media sources that are less constrained than mainstream sources used by older generations. 

    He said that the government is “still making excuses for” Israel, “which has occupied another people for 75 or 56 years” and “has built illegal settlements on their land and brutalized them at an extraordinary level for decades.”

    Narine said it is short-sighted to think that Israel will ever allow a Palestinian state. 

    “They made it absolutely clear there will never be a Palestinian state, so long as they have anything to say about it. And they’re using Oct. 7 as a justification for that position, of course, completely ignoring the way in which they created the circumstances that led to Oct. 7.” 

    Related: ‘A two-state solution is no longer viable’: STU professor’s Israel-Palestine lecture

    Narine also believes that Israel will become a pariah state, only supported by Western countries; and over time, that support will be frayed. 

    “I think the Palestinians will eventually persevere and they’ll get a state of their own. But I think there’s going to be a lot more suffering ahead for them before that happens.”