Canadian unions call for a suspension of arms sales to Israel

 [[{“value”:”Unions are calling on the federal government to completely freeze the transfer of all arms to Israel.
The post Canadian unions call for a suspension of arms sales to Israel appeared first on”}]] [[{“value”:”

Major Canadian unions are calling on the federal government to end arms sales to Israel. The call comes as Israel’s attack on Gaza sees civilian deaths continue to rise, and just days after Israel killed aid workers with the non-profit group World Central Kitchen.

World Central Kitchen workers are in Gaza trying to help feed the starving displaced population. Of the workers killed, one was a Canadian.

A statement issued by Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) reads in part:

“The majority of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza are civilians. An alarming proportion—about one-third of them—are children. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been injured and about 2 million people displaced. There are increasing reports of widespread shortages of humanitarian aid, and of people facing starvation and disease. We have seen disturbing reports of attacks on civilians and infrastructure, including health care facilities. Now, the Israeli military is threatening a ground invasion at Rafah. Yet over 1 million Palestinians had been told to relocate to Rafah when fleeing Israeli airstrikes in northern Gaza.”

The unions go on to state that Canada could become complicit in human rights violations being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza.

“Canada exports military equipment to Israel, including via the United States. This means that Canada is at risk of being complicit in the violence and human rights violations Israel is perpetrating in Gaza. Canada also imports military equipment from Israel, which anti-war groups argue supports Israel’s military industry and operations,” the statement reads.

Despite NDP motion, arms continue to flow

Last month, the NDP successfully passed a motion in the House of Commons that included calling for an end to arms sales to Israel.

This motion was watered down in order to get support from the ruling Liberal government, and the final motion did include other important points, including that Canada support the investigation of the International Court of Justice into allegations of genocide in Gaza. The motion was non-binding however, and an arms embargo has yet to be fully implemented.

READ MORE: NDP motion calling for ceasefire in Gaza passes, with significant changes

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) criticized Canada’s Global Affairs Minister Melanie Joly for failing to fully implement an arms embargo on Israel.

“While Joly has indicated that she is planning on enacting parts of the motion, she has said that any ban on arms exports will exclude trade under existing arms export permits, a massive loophole that contradicts the plain language understanding of the March 18 motion,” reads a statement from CJMPE.

Grassroots efforts aimed at stopping arms to Israel

For months, grassroots activists and non-profit organizations, including members of the labour movement, have been actively working to disrupt the arms trade to Israel.

In recent weeks, World BEYOND War Canada has organized rolling blockades of Canadian arms manufacturers who have been sending arms to Israel.

Most recently, on April 2, activists blockaded the entrance to the Heroux-Devtek plant in Montreal, QC. The plant was manufacturing parts that are used in warplanes being used by Israel to bomb Gaza.

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