Toronto : A bill was rejected by Ontario’s parliament that would have prevented the Canadian province from conducting business with companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Provincial lawmakers voted against the bill on Thursday. Liberal and left-leaning New Democratic Party members also showed there protest against this.
The bill would have prohibited the government from entering into contracts with businesses that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. This bill is , co-sponsored by Progressive Conservative MPP Tim Hudak and Liberal member of the legislature, Mike Colle.
Colle urged his colleagues to support the bill. The BDS movement was made clear by him saying that they try to clothe themselves in an aura of fighting for a just cause, [but] their core belief is a hate for Israel and a hate for everything Jewish.
Speaking for the Liberal government, Culture Minister Michael Coteau disputed that the legislation would not improve security in the troubled region, reported the Toronto Star. This act was called by New Democrat Peggy Sattler as “an attack on freedom of speech and association.”
Arguing for the bill, Hudak called BDS an “insidious new face of anti-Semitism,” and criticized Liberals.
“Look, if somebody said they weren’t going to buy from a business because the owners were gay, you guys would go crazy,” he told the governing Liberals during the emotional debate on the bill. “If somebody said they weren’t going to buy from a business because they came from Pakistan or they’re Sikh, people would go nuts. But somehow, because they’re Jewish or from Israel, oh, it’s free speech all of a sudden? Come on.” The Toronto Sun reported on this.
Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s premier, was absent for the vote, as she was on a trade mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Earlier in the week, she said that she entirely oppose the BDS movement, but added that freedom of speech is something that all Canadians value and we must vigorously defend. But, it’s unacceptable for students, or parents, or children to feel unsafe or discriminated against, she added.
Hudak responded that he did not know whether Ontario currently does any business with companies backing the BDS movement.
Members of the movement carry out this hate in many, many ways with a lot of resources all over the world, and he just think they have no other position to take but to say no to this insidious, disgusting thing that attacks the Jewish people just because of who they are, he added to a report.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne visted Israel for a five-day on a trade mission together with 130 government officials, academics, scientists and business leaders and then the vote on the motion started its form.Before departing on the trade mission, Wynne said that Israeli is a priority market for Ontario and that she intends to find new opportunities and build new partnerships with Ontario’s Israeli counterparts.
Wynne said earlier this week that she does not support the BDS movement or any position that promotes anti-Semitism, but also stressed Ontario must protect free speech in the province.