Canadian Parliament building
Canadian Parliament buildingiStock

Canada’s parliament on Monday approved a motion submitted by the New Democratic Party (NDP) on Palestinian statehood, but not before the ruling Liberals drastically altered its wording, CTV News reported.

The motion initially called on Canada to recognize the "State of Palestine", but the Liberals drastically altered its wording to see the government simply work towards that aim as part of a two-state solution.

After appearing destined to fail when the governing Liberals vowed Monday to not let the opposition sway its foreign policy, Government House Leader Steven MacKinnon shocked MPs on both sides of the aisle when he rose in the final minutes of debate to advance a nearly 500-word motion that rephrased considerable portions of the NDP motion.

After generating considerable international attention and division among MPs during a nearly day-long debate, the non-binding but symbolic NDP motion ultimately passed 204 to 117, according to CTV News.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and almost all Liberal MPs voted in favor, alongside NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Green MPs. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and his party voted against the proposal.

CTV News noted that, while nearly every element of the motion was altered, arguably the biggest change came in the final line.

That line originally asked the House to call on the government to "officially recognize the State of Palestine," but was rewritten to say "work with international partners to actively pursue the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including towards the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution."

Speaking to reporters following the vote, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said Canada was sending a "strong message" to the world. Asked if the measures in the motion should now be considered the government's official position, Joly said it is "clearly the intent of this government."

"The two-state solution definition was really important, as of course we know that Canada, as a G7 country, is sending a message to other G7 countries," Joly said.

Ahead of the vote, Israel's Ambassador to Canada Iddo Moed spoke out against the initial version of the motion, stating that the "one-sided recognition of a Palestinian state rewards Hamas — a listed terrorist organization by the Government of Canada — for its sadistic attack."

"Empowering terrorists will only evoke more bloodshed and jeopardize any peaceful resolution to the conflict," the ambassador said in a statement.

B’nai Brith Canada condemned the approval of the motion and called it “unprecedented and appalling” in a statement.

“Among other things, the motion calls on Canada to pressure Israel into agreeing to an ‘immediate’ ceasefire in its war with Hamas. Far from addressing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, the motion calls for measures that would help Hamas reclaim power in Gaza and resume attacks against Israeli civilians,” B’nai Brith Canada said.

“By adopting such a one-sided and irresponsible motion, the House has expressed an appalling degree of disregard for Israel’s right to defend itself,” said David Granovsky, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Government Relations. “Canada must not stand in the way as Israel works to neutralize the terrorists who are preventing the implementation of a sustainable peace.”

“Hamas still holds more than 100 hostages,” said Richard Robertson, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Research and Advocacy. “Our Government should be focusing on securing their release and helping Israel eliminate Hamas, which is a listed terrorist organization in this country.”

"The 11th-hour manner in which the motion was amended made a mockery of parliamentary procedure and demonstrated a callous lack of understanding of the sensitive nature of the contents of the motion for Canadian Jews," he added.

The NDP, which tabled Monday’s motion, has in the past approved an anti-Israel resolution calling on Israel “to end its occupation and settlement program, lift the Gaza blockade, recognize its Arab-Palestinian citizens’ right to full equality, and address refugee claims fairly.”

Near the start of the war, Trudeau was supportive of Israel. At the time he spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that he “unequivocally condemned Hamas’ large-scale attacks against Israel and expressed his deep condolences to Prime Minister Netanyahu for the hundreds of lives lost.”

The two spoke again at the start of November, when Trudeau “expressed Canada’s support for Israel and its right to defend itself in accordance with international law, in the face of Hamas’ brutal attacks,” said a statement from the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office.

Later, however, Trudeau blasted Israel and said that the "killing of women, of children, of babies" in the Gaza Strip must end.

Before Monday’s vote, Trudeau spoke to Minister Benny Gantz and expressed concern over Israel's planned offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.