Ontario’s legislature is debating a Progressive Conservative motion that could lead to a New Democrat legislator effectively prevented from speaking in the House unless she apologizes again for a statement she made about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Sarah Jama, who was elected earlier this year in a byelection in Hamilton Centre, published a written statement last week decrying “the generations long occupation of Palestine” without mentioning the attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas militants.
Condemnation came swiftly, particularly from Tories, and Jama posted an apology on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, but she did not retract the original statement.
The Progressive Conservatives have now put forward a motion to censure Jama, calling on the Speaker not to recognize her in the House — in order to ask a question or debate legislation — until she retracts and deletes her original statement and also apologizes in the legislature.
NDP Leader Marit Stiles says the government is trying to muzzle a democratically elected member of provincial parliament even though she has already apologized.
She says the Tories are playing political games, using Jama as a way to distract from the fact that the RCMP is investigating the government’s decision — which it has now reversed — to open parts of the protected Greenbelt lands for housing development.
© 2023 The Canadian Press