Source: OFL Communications Department, via Wikimedia Commons

The NDP’s non-binding motion against arms sales to Israel is the latest hollow gesture in Canadian political theatre. Some are celebrating the motion’s passing in Parliament as a victory for the Palestinian movement, but in reality, it doesn’t change a thing. It’s a cynical move to give the false appearance that the government is working to end the genocide. 

Right before the vote, the NDP and Liberals announced a series of amendments to tone down the motion’s wording. It already wasn’t going to accomplish anything, but the NDP agreed to water it down even further to make it acceptable for their Liberal friends. The starving children of Gaza must really appreciate the NDP’s steadfast commitment to ending their plight. 

The motion’s original demand for the government to recognize the state of Palestine was replaced with a vague call for Canada to “work towards” a two-state solution. This is a classic trick of the imperialists. They only support plans for a Palestinian state that are just vague enough that they never actually have to do anything. 

Other amendments include the recognition of Israel’s “right to defend itself”, fear mongering around Iran, and the demand for Hamas to surrender. It’s monstrous that while the Palestinians are starving, battered, and surrounded on all sides by an imperialist army, the Liberals and reformists are still equivocating between violence on “both sides”.

Jagmeet Singh was quick to brag on social media that the NDP “forced the Liberals” to stop selling arms to Israel. But once again: this is a non-binding motion. The Liberals don’t have to do a thing! Despite the protest of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly that this is “real” and her claim that no arms would be exported to Israel following the resolution, Ottawa has long provided components for weapons to Israel under the guise of so-called “non-lethal” military equipment, such as parts for F-35 jets. The motion is just more window-dressing on an existing loophole. 

If the NDP wanted to take real action to stop Canada’s backing of genocide in Gaza, they could bring Trudeau down tomorrow. They could withdraw their support for his government and trigger an election on the question of Palestine. Instead, the NDP would rather throw their weight behind a pathetic non-binding motion that will fade from memory as quickly as it was passed. 

Here is just another example of why there can be no faith in the political institutions of capitalism. The Liberals support the genocide, and the NDP is complicit. Betrayal is inherent in reformism.