Controversial Hamilton MPP Sarah Jama kicked out of NDP caucus
Published October 23, 2023 at 11:59 am
Hamilton Centre MPP Sarah Jama, who has come under fire recently for her comments on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, has officially been removed from the NDP caucus.
In a statement issued on Oct. 23, Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles said Jama’s removal is “effective immediately.”
— Marit Stiles (@MaritStiles) October 23, 2023
“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.”
Jama was recently criticized by those in and outside her party for a social media post she made earlier this month decrying the “occupation” of Palestine without mentioning the attack by Hamas militants on Israeli civilians. Hamas, which controls Palestine, is considered a terrorist entity by the Canadian government. She later posted an apology online but did not retract the original statement.
The Oct. 7 attack on Israel killed at least 1,300 people. Israel has since responded to the attacks with a series of airstrikes. According to a recent report from Reuters, the Hamas-led Health Ministry in Gaza said that the strikes have killed at least 3,785 Palestinians and injured over 12,000.
In response to Jama’s comments, Ontario’s ruling Progressive Conservative party launched a motion calling on her to apologize and retract her statement on the conflict. Doug Ford’s government is calling through their motion for the Speaker to not to recognize Jama in the House until she does so.
Jama has since sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ford demanding he retract and apologize for his own statement on her comments in which he said she has a “well-documented history of antisemitism” and supports the “rape and murder of innocent Jewish people.”
Through her lawyer Stephen Ellis, Jama demanded that Ford immediately “cease and desist” from publishing “defamatory” statements, immediately retract them and publish an “unequivocal apology” within the next seven calendar days.
The premier – who has not commented publicly on Jama’s letter – provided no specific details supporting the allegations he made against Jama.
In her letter, Stiles said that the NDP will still vote against the Conservative’s “extreme motion to censure Jama” today.
Stiles said that since coming to an agreement with Jama, the MPP has “undertaken a number of unilateral actions that have undermined our collective work and broken and the trust of her colleagues.”
Stiles’ letter also says that Jama’s “actions have contributed to unsafe work environments for staff.”
On Oct. 20, Jama tweeted that her office had received “a number of concerning calls and emails” that prompted her to switch to remote work and make all in-person meetings available by appointment only.
Earlier today, Jama posted a number of tweets on X calling for a ceasefire and demanding Israel de-escalate the conflict after launching a “horrific siege on Palestinians in Gaza.”
“Governments and institutions in Canada are trying to use their weight to silence us, to silence workers, students, educators, and peace-loving people who dare to support Palestine. To every person taking risks to speak up for Palestinian dignity and safety, I see you, I hear you, and I am with you.”
– With files from The Canadian Pressinthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising