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Calling for a ceasefire in Gaza: open letter to PM Trudeau and Minister Joly

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Joly,

I am writing on behalf of the Council of Canadians, including 150,000 supporters and 45 chapters across the country, to urge your government to publicly support the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and take immediate measures to comply with its orders that all states must work to prevent genocide in the Gaza strip. Your government must:

  • actively work for an immediate ceasefire, a negotiated release of all hostages, and an end to the longstanding blockade of Gaza by the Israeli government;
  • ensure increased and uninterrupted humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, including by reversing your pause in funding for UNRWA, and;
  • immediately suspend all arms exports to Israel, which in 2022 were valued at more than $21 million.

While the full ICJ investigation is ongoing, the Court has found that there is a plausible case that Israel’s actions in Gaza constitute genocide, and the provisional measures it recommended on January 26, 2024, were clear: Israel and the international community must take immediate steps to prevent a genocide and any further loss of life. To date, more than 27,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, including nearly 10,000 children.

This ruling has major implications for Canada and must be treated with utmost seriousness. As a signatory to the Genocide Convention, Canada is obliged to act in accordance with the court’s ruling and take steps to end the destruction of civilian life in Gaza.

Canada has the power and leverage – and indeed a moral and legal obligation – to help bring an immediate end to the violence and destruction inflicted on Palestinians. Your government’s inaction places Canada at odds with the majority of Western governments, including the European Union, Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium.

While the recent announcement of $40 million in aid is an important ongoing commitment, pausing funding to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) makes it more likely that Gazans will die from famine and increased diseases they are facing because of Israel’s military actions. UNRWA is a critical agency on the ground whose services cannot be replaced by other organizations. It has said it will be forced to stop operations by the end of February if funding is not restored. We are adding our voices to the dozens of leading aid groups around the world in urging you to change course.

There can be no military solution to this crisis. The humanitarian crisis, ICJ ruling, and spreading conflict across the region require immediate action to prevent further violence. Only a durable ceasefire can prevent further loss of life and create the conditions for a lasting and just peace.

Sincerely,
Christina Warner
Executive Director
The Council of Canadians


On Tuesday, February 6th, the Council of Canadians is hosting a phone zap for our supporters and friends to make phone calls to PM Trudeau, Minister Joly, and other MPs that sit on the Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs to reiterate the demands listed in the letter. To join this phone zap, you’ll need a device to join a Zoom meeting with, and a phone.