NDP Convention Skips Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution, Focuses on Varied Domestic and International Issues

NDP Convention Skips Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution, Focuses on Varied Domestic and International Issues
NDP delegates gather in Ottawa for the 2018 policy convention. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

As the New Democratic Party of Canada prepares for its policy convention this weekend, the pressing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is noticeably absent from its list of 60 priority resolutions, even as international tensions rise.

Delegates Decide on Resolutions

According to CBC News, about 1,100 delegates voted on which resolutions should be discussed during the convention. The chosen resolutions encompass a wide range of topics including health care, affordability, workers’ rights, and foreign policy matters.

Out of 350 resolutions initially proposed, at least one addressed Israel. The NDP Socialist Caucus advanced a resolution pressing the NDP to intensify its advocacy for Palestinian human rights. Specifically, the resolution called for an active campaign supporting boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it ends the occupation of Palestinian territories.

However, a spokesperson for the NDP clarified that the voting for priority resolutions took place before Hamas’ unexpected attack on Israel. Given the changing circumstances, NDP’s foreign affairs critic MP Heather McPherson told CBC News, “I expect that we will have an emergency resolution on this issue.”

Emergency resolutions can be added until Thursday, October 12, designed to incorporate issues that surface post the standard deadline for the policy convention slated for Oct. 13-15.

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (far right) at a campaign rally in May 2023. Photo from Twitter.

NDP’s Historical Stance

Historically, the NDP has taken a vocal position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to statements, the party has condemned attacks and urged both sides to abide by international laws. McPherson, on behalf of the NDP, recently criticized Hamas’ lethal attack on Israel while simultaneously urging Israel to respect international legal norms, especially in operations within Hamas-controlled Gaza. “What Israel is doing right now looks very much like collective punishment,” McPherson commented.

During a virtual convention in 2021, NDP members supported motions calling for the end of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian territories and trade restrictions with illegal settlements in Israel-Palestine. The NDP’s objective also encompasses urging Canada to cease arms sales to Israel.

Varied Resolutions Up for Debate

The forthcoming convention promises discussions on various topics, highlighting the party’s diversified agenda. Delegates will debate on:

  • Health Care: Initiatives range from enhancing the federal health budget to restrict provinces from offering for-profit private health care, to the incorporation of dental, mental, drug, auditory, and vision care into the public healthcare system.
  • Workers’ Rights: Proposals like hiking the federal minimum wage to $20 an hour and changes to the foreign workers’ program are on the table.
  • Climate & Energy: Calls to create a youth “climate corps” and establish an interprovincial power grid for clean electricity will be debated.
  • Affordability: The party will discuss introducing wealth taxes for ultra-high earners and strategies for housing and corporate tax adjustments.
  • Indigenous Justice and Human Rights: Resolutions like the “red dress alert system” for missing Indigenous women and girls and LGBTQ non-profit funding will be explored.
  • Foreign Affairs: Beyond the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the NDP will deliberate on matters like supporting Ukrainian survivors of sexual violence, condemning China’s actions towards Taiwan, and prioritizing labour and environmental standards in trade agreements.

The convention will be the first in-person gathering of NDP members in five years, ensuring a dynamic dialogue on critical issues that Canada faces today.