Ontario NDP MPP Jama removed from caucus, province passes motion to silence Hamilton legislator
Posted October 23, 2023 11:26 am.
Last Updated October 23, 2023 11:54 pm.
Marit Stiles, leader of Ontario’s NDP, announced that MPP Sarah Jama has been removed from caucus in the wake of a controversial social media post she made about the Israel-Hamas war.
Stiles issued a statement on Monday confirming Jama’s departure.
“In our caucus, there is room for different viewpoints, even dissenting ones. But that is based on the foundational principles of trust and working together as a team,” Stiles wrote.
“Ms. Jama and I had reached an agreement to keep her in the NDP Caucus, which included working together in good faith with no surprises. Our caucus and staff have made significant efforts to support her during an undoubtedly difficult time.”
On Oct. 10, Jama, the MPP for Hamilton Centre, posted a two-paragraph statement under Ontario NDP letterhead that made no mention of the surprise attack by Hamas.
The post instead chose to focus on the decades-long struggle of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, which she referred to as “apartheid.” Jama’s social media post included the hashtag “FreePalestine.”
She later posted an apology online but did not retract the original statement. Stiles responded to Jama’s comments, saying the MPP’s message was not approved by her caucus and asked her to retract it.
Premier Ford’s government passes motion to silence Hamilton legislator
Premier Doug Ford’s government passed a motion to censure the Hamilton legislator. The motion passed shortly after Jama was removed from the NDP caucus today.
Stiles said her party voted against the Progressive Conservatives’s “extreme motion” to censure the Hamilton MPP.
“This extreme motion has barred a member from participating in the Legislature just six months after she was elected. It sets a dangerous precedent,” Stiles wrote in a statement.
Jama spoke this morning in the legislature against the Tories’ motion and said the province is targeting her to distract from its own scandals, and also said that governments and institutions in Canada are trying to use their voice and weight to silence people who support Palestinians.
The Progressive Conservative motion effectively silences Jama in the legislature and calls on the Speaker not to recognize her in the House until she retracts her original statement and apologizes again.
Jama shut down her Hamilton office on Oct. 20, citing safety concerns.
With files from The Canadian Press