PM Justin Trudeau reaffirms Canada’s unwavering support for Israel

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirms Canada's unwavering support of Israel during a Question Period with Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer on May 23.

(May 2018) – Here is the transcript from the House of Commons on May 23, 2018  —  Oral Questions regarding the recent tragic violence at the Israel-Gaza border. 

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC):  

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refused to answer this question yesterday, so I will try again today. One fact in the recent violent confrontations along the Israel-Gaza border is undeniable. The riots that led to those tragic deaths were deliberately orchestrated by the terrorist group Hamas. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister‘s statement last week ignored Hamas’s involvement and instead blamed Israel, the most democratic, pluralistic nation in the region. Will the Prime Minister apologize for his poorly worded statement and finally join me in condemning Hamas for the role it played and explain his silence yesterday?

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, last week I spoke directly with Prime Minister Netanyahu and explained to him that regardless of which country was involved, any time a foreign military sniper shoots a Canadian citizen, a Canadian civilian, we will have questions about that. We will stand up and express how concerned we are and ask to know exactly what happened. A Canadian doctor was shot by an Israeli sniper. This is something that we have to actually push back on and ask how that happened.

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, how about pushing back on the fact that this entire incident was orchestrated by a terrorist group, Hamas? This is shameful. Here we are, a week later, after the world has seen Hamas putting innocent civilians in harm’s way just to achieve this very type of tragic incident, and the Prime Minister continues to place the blame unilaterally on Israel, a country that goes out of its way to minimize civilian casualties.

Will the Prime Minister finally do what the entire international community has already done: condemn Hamas and recognize its role in this tragic event?

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.):  

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we have repeatedly condemned the violence, including the incitement to violence by Hamas, but I will express once again that I am proud that Canada is one of those countries in which support for Israel and friendship with Israel go beyond partisan lines. Our government has continued to be a friend to Israel.

There is, in fact, only one issue on which we deeply disagree with the Conservatives with regard to Israel. It is that we do not think it should be a partisan domestic issue.

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC):  

Mr. Speaker, Canada used to have one voice when it spoke to the issue in the region, until this Prime Minister changed the government’s position when it comes to Israel.

The Prime Minister has politicized this issue by failing to condemn Hamas until a week later, by placing the blame unilaterally on Israel, and by ignoring the fact that Hamas put those innocent civilians in harm’s way deliberately.

Why did the Prime Minister take so long to acknowledge the role that a terrorist organization had in this? Why is he politicizing our relationship with Israel?

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.):  

Mr. Speaker, how quickly they forget. In the 2015 election campaign, protestors were outside the home of a Jewish leader in Toronto because he had dared to support the Liberal Party in our election and leaders within the Jewish community had actually stepped forward and supported a different party than theirs. The politicization of the Israel question has been done by them. It is shameful and unhelpful to the kind of pluralistic democracy we are. We will always be a friend to Israel on this side of the House.

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