April 22nd, 2024

Motion on Israel-Hamas war will have consequences for asylum seekers in Gaza: Miller

By The Canadian Press on March 20, 2024.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, March 18, 2024. Miller says the amended Israel Hamas motion passed by the House of Commons Monday could make it harder for Canada to help get people out of Gaza. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Immigration Minister Marc Miller says the amended motion on the Israel-Hamas war the House of Commons passed Monday could make it harder for people seeking asylum in Canada to get out of Gaza.

He says it could make the situation worse for a Canadian program that has already been, in his words, a “failure.”

Miller says he thinks the motion was fair and principled after it was altered to reflect 14 amendments proposed by the Liberals.

The final motion eliminated a standalone call to recognize Palestinian statehood and instead saw MPs support progress toward a peace process and a two-state solution as per existing Canadian policy.

But Miller says the motion has upset Israel’s government and will have consequences.

Israel’s foreign minister said Tuesday that measures outlined in the motion, including the suspension of arms exports to Israel, would undermine his country’s ability to defend itself – and that history would judge Canada harshly.

Miller told reporters Wednesday morning that the government always knew the program to offer asylum to extended family members of Canadians who are in the Gaza Strip could fail.

Only 14 people have been able to get out. The motion could have consequences for others who are waiting, he said.

“The adoption of that motion doesn’t help getting people out.”

He said the Israeli government has made it clear that it is watching what Canada does.

“And any actions that are seen as to be unfavourable can affect their decision-making at the highest political level,” Miller said.

“And so we can’t be naive as a country as to the actions that we take and the impact that can have on the ground and for actual people’s lives.”

Miller said he was not saying that the motion was “a bad thing to adopt,” adding it represented a “principled position” as amended.

“But the actions of the government of Canada (have) consequences. And on the particular impact of that program, I don’t think that motion is necessarily a good thing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2024.

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