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Israel motions a painful lesson for Green Party

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Two controversial Green Party policy motions are going to be presented for workshop at the party’s Ottawa convention in early August. One calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel; the other calls for revoking the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status. These two policies are hurtful to Canada, to peace, and belie the complexity of the conflict they are naively attempting to address.

I will be actively participating at our convention to have these policy motions rejected (or massively amended) by the attending membership.

I joined the Green Party of Canada nine years ago and ran twice here in Ottawa because this party’s core values precluded us from picking a side in the Israel-Palestine conflict. I was proud to represent our supporters when meeting with Jewish Federation Ottawa in the previous election when I reiterated my long-standing position of supporting Israel’s right to exist, its right to defend itself within the rule of international law, and Israel’s status as an ally of Canada.

Equally important, if we are allies we must be able to criticize each other without taking such criticism as a betrayal of our friendship.

The Green Party of Canada has a serious procedural problem of letting any two-dozen people propose a policy to its members without a proper vetting process. The two motions mentioned above are a case in point. The party membership seems to think such motions are vetted and endorsed by the shadow cabinet; they are not and this must change.

Let this be a painful lesson for our party: policy motions cannot be put forward without at least preliminary examination for appropriateness.

Jean-Luc Cooke

Nepean, Ont.

(The writer is the Green Party of Canada critic for small business and was a candidate for the party in 2011 and 2015.)

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