The Quebec government is refusing to get behind Ottawa’s call for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.
This decision highlights a growing rift in Canadian domestic politics regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Hamas, a terrorist movement recognized by several states, including Canada, must surrender its weapons. In addition, the hostages must be released before a ceasefire can be considered,” wrote Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Martine Biron, according to Le Devoir.
Quebec maintains a different perspective in contrast with the federal government’s viewpoint, which was recently demonstrated through its vote in favour of a UN resolution for a ceasefire.
Canada also recently signed a joint statement with New Zealand and Australia calling for a “sustainable ceasefire”, as reported by True North. The countries did condemn Hamas’ treatment of hostages and called for their immediate and unconditional release.
However, Quebec’s stance is not just about opposition to Ottawa’s policy but also reflects concern for civilians.
“Quebec remains concerned about the safety and well-being of all civilians in both Israel and the Gaza Strip. This war has created enormous suffering since the attack initiated by Hamas on October 7,” wrote Biron’s press secretary, Catherine Boucher.
Quebec’s stipulations for a ceasefire echo the sentiments of Liberal MP Anthony Housefather. Earlier this week, he voiced his opposition to the UN’s decision.
This contrast in views is further mirrored in the differing positions within Quebec’s political landscape.
The Quebec Liberal Party calls for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” and “calls for the release of the hostages.” Québec solidaire and the Parti québécois advocated for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza.
In contrast, the Coalition Avenir Québec’s refusal to support such a motion has sparked notable controversy.
Québec Solidaire member of the national assembly Haroun Bouazzi expressed his dismay at this refusal after the Legault government refused to support a motion calling for a ceasefire.
“It’s a disgrace,” he said repeatedly before breaking down in tears.