‘Blood on your hands’: Ontario NDP leader Stiles’ Toronto office vandalized
Posted October 24, 2023 1:28 pm.
Last Updated October 24, 2023 4:18 pm.
The Toronto constituency office of Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles was vandalized one day after she removed MPP Sarah Jama from caucus over comments she made on social media about the Israel-Hamas war.
The office, located at Bloor Street, was seen defaced with the words “Free Palestine. Blood is on your hands.” Stiles’ photo is covered in what appears to be red paint.
“I saw it when I was coming in today. I don’t know who did it or what happened,” Stiles told CityNews. “Nobody is hurt. My staff are fine, we’ll make the necessary reports.”
On Monday, Stiles announced that Jama was removed from caucus in the wake of a social media post she made about the Israel-Hamas war. 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.
Several thousand Palestinians have died as Israel has ramped up airstrikes in blockaded Gaza ahead of an anticipated ground invasion in response to the Hamas attacks. Gaza, with a population of 2.3 million people, is running out of food, water and medicine.
MPP Jama censured by Ontario legislature
In response, the Progressive Conservative government slammed Jama and tabled a motion that authorizes the Speaker not to recognize her in the House until she retracts her original statement and apologizes in the legislature. It prevents her from participating in debates, but she would still be able to vote.
This incident appears to have prompted NDP MPP Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest) to comment, indicating that her party does support the Palestinians.
“The NDP is the only party in North America that is actually calling for a ceasefire right now,” Begum said on Tuesday. “Just yesterday, over 400 people were killed in Palestine. Has the government condemned that or done anything to support them? No.”
The motion passed Monday, with the newly independent Jama and the New Democrats voting against what Stiles called a “really egregious motion.” The Speaker’s office said he would uphold the will of the House.
Earlier Monday, Jama spoke against the motion in the legislature, saying it was a move by the Progressive Conservative government to distract from its own scandals.
Jama alleges Ford defamed her when he said on social media on Oct. 11 she has a “well-documented history of antisemitism” and supports the “rape and murder of innocent Jewish people.”
With files from The Canadian Press