The Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group (CPPFG) has been reconstituted on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It will be chaired by Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara (l). Its two vice chairs are NDP member Alexandre Boulerice (top right) and Bloc Quebecois MP Mario Beaulieu (bottom right). Green Party leader Elizabeth May is also a member. Read more.
The Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group, which was originally founded in 2007, was reconstituted for the 42nd Parliament of Canada on June 15th 2017. The group is a non partisan committee curently composed of members of Parliament from 4 of the 5 parties in Parliament. (Conservative MPs and Senators of all parties are also welcome to join, but none has done so, as yet.)
Committee Chair Marwan Tabbara (Lib.) stressed that “it is important to increase mutual understanding between Canadians and Palestinians through dialogue and by sharing knowledge and experience through direct contact. “
The following parliamentarians have joined the group:
- Marwan Tabbara, (Liberal, Kitchener South – Hespeler, ON), elected Chair
- Alexandre Boulerice, (NDP, Rosemont – La Petite Patrie, QC), elected Vice-Chair
- Mario Beaulieu, (Bloc Québécois, La Pointe-de-l’Île, QC), elected Vice-Chair
- Elizabeth May (Green, Saanich – Gulf Islands, BC)
- Geng Tan (Liberal, Don Valley North, ON)
- Chandra Arya (Liberal, Nepean, ON)
- Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Liberal, Winnipeg Center, MB)
- Rob Oliphant (Liberal, Don Valley West, ON)
- Fayçal El-Khouri (Liberal, Laval – The Islands, QC)
At the first meeting, the members adopted a bilingual Constitution Constitution (Bilingue) finale and a declaration of fundamental principles CPPFG basic principles. It also elected its executive committee members.
In its Declaration of Principles, the CPPFC stated that it seeks to understand the perspectives of the various groups “that make up all Palestinian peoples regardless of their geographical location”. (emphasis added) This is significant because it means that, in addition to Palestinians in the West Bank, the committee is interested in the views of Palestinians in Gaza, Jerusalem, in the refugee camps around Israel, and also of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.
It has declared that it wants to develop contacts with a wide range of Palestinian organizations including representatives of civil society organizations, faith groups, women’s groups and NGOs working in the field of health, education and human rights.
According to the declaration this might include “an invitation to representatives to be heard here or a mission of Canadian MPs and Senators to the region.”
With only nine members, the new group is rather small compared to the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary group which has over 50 members and gets financial and administrative support from Parliament. In contrast, the new Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group is entirely supported by the resources of its own members and gets no financial or administrative support from Parliament.
But its members are enthusiastic about its mission and the interest shown by other parliamentarians. Vice Chair Alexandre Boulerice stressed the importance of the group saying that it will be “a vital tool to promote solidarity, dialogue and reflection on the status of the Palestinian people.”
A work plan will be on the agenda at the next meeting when parliamentarians return in the fall.
Canada Talks Israel-Palestine welcomes the reestablishment of this committee to bring about better understanding of the issues, based on reliable and objective information, and of the perspectives of the parties concerned.
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