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59 B.C. politicians sign letter calling for ceasefire in Gaza

Open letter also calls for support for unrestricted access to humanitarian aid, release of all hostages
Palestinians look for survivors following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. A group of 59 B.C. politicians representing local government have signed an open letter to the Canadian government calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Fatima Shbair

Dozens of politicians representing local governments across B.C. have signed an open letter to the Canadian government calling for a ceasefire now in Gaza.

In total, 59 politicians representing 31 local governments have signed the letter as of Thursday (Nov. 16). It was first released publicly on Tuesday, with 52 signatures.

“As local government elected officials across BC, we are horrified and heartbroken by the crisis in Israel and Gaza. As of November 12, over an estimated 11,000 Palestinians and an estimated 1,200 Israelis have lost their lives since the devastating Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. Ultimately, even one life lost is too many.”

It adds the politicians are ashamed at Canada’s abstention at the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution that called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” that would bring an end to the current fighting.

“Canada should be a leader on the world stage, but instead, sat on the sidelines.”

Beyond a ceasefire, the politicians say they join human rights groups in urging the Canadian government to immediately support unrestricted access to humanitarian aid and secure the release of all hostages.

“We have heard from residents who are directly affected with family and friends in Gaza and Israel, and from others concerned about the destruction unfolding. They are pleading for action from all orders of government.”

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas and for urgent and extended humanitarian corridors throughout the region to save a protect civilian lives. The resolution came after “four unsuccessful efforts to take action last month.”

The UN has said that more than 4,600 children have reportedly been killed in Gaza since Israel declared war against Hamas – which Canada lists as a terrorist organization – after its militants killed 1,200 people and took about 240 people hostage on Oct. 7.

The letter adds that the politicians have a moral obligation to “speak up, represent our communities, and collectively call for urgent action from the Canadian government.”

READ MORE: ‘Maximum restraint’ needed to protect civilian life in Gaza Strip: Trudeau

The open letter came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the Lower Mainland Tuesday for an unrelated announcement, but in the evening as he was dining at two separate restaurants in Vancouver he was confronted by pro-Palestine supports calling for a ceasefire now.

At the first restaurant, Trudeau ended up leaving as protesters entered the restaurant calling for the ceasefire, while at the second restaurant nearly 100 Vancouver police officers were deployed to control and disperse the crowd.

Two people were arrested during the second protest in Chinatown, one for allegedly assaulting a police officer.

READ MORE: Protesters demand Gaza ceasefire as Trudeau dines in Vancouver

READ MORE: 2 more Canadians exit Gaza, Freeland sidesteps Israel rebuke of Trudeau

– With files from The Canadian Press

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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