Home Editor Picks MP Anthony Housefather to stay on with Liberals after period of ‘serious reflection’ | CBC News

MP Anthony Housefather to stay on with Liberals after period of ‘serious reflection’ | CBC News

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MP Anthony Housefather to stay on with Liberals after period of ‘serious reflection’ | CBC News

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MP Anthony Housefather says he will remain in the Liberal caucus despite his concerns about the party’s support for a motion on Palestinian statehood.

“The adoption of the motion and all the events that preceded it have angered me as much as they angered most of the Jewish Canadians that I have communicated with,” the Montreal MP said in a press release late Friday.

“But I also know that my core values remain Liberal ones and after serious reflection, I believe my greatest value to Canadians is staying in caucus to advocate for the centrist classical Liberal Party that I believe in.”

Housefather told CBC news Network’s Power & Politics that recent conversations he’s had with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding his concerns about antisemitism in Canada helped him decide to stay with the party.

“I had very, very painful discussions where we talked about what I felt was not enough action by the government. And he said, ‘Come work with me, come work with [special envoy on Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism] Deborah Lyons, play a leadership role on this file and we will fix it,'” he told host David Cochrane.

“That was a meaningful thing to me and I want to be part of that work.”

WATCH | Decision to stay ‘was not an easy one,’ says MP Housefather:  

Decision to stay in Liberal caucus ‘was not an easy one,’ says MP Housefather

‘If I leave, where are the pro-Israel voices in the Liberal Party?’ MP Anthony Housefather said in an interview with Power & Politics after he announced that he will be staying in caucus despite concerns about his government’s response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Housefather said last month he needed to re-evaluate his place in the Liberal caucus after many of his fellow Liberal MPs supported the NDP motion, saying he believed “a line had been crossed.”

The NDP motion, tabled in response to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, originally called on the government to officially recognize Palestine as a state and to “suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel.”

Most Liberal MPs supported the motion after some last-minute amendments. The final wording urged the government to “work with international partners” to “pursue the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” and to work “towards the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution.”

The motion also was amended to call on the federal government to “cease the further authorization and transfer of arms exports to Israel,” rather than suspend trade in military arms and technology.

WATCH | Liberal MP says he has to reflect after Liberals voted for motion on Palestinian statehood:

Liberal MP says he has to reflect after Liberals voted for amended motion on Palestinian statehood

Anthony Housefather says he felt ‘a line [was] crossed’ when his caucus colleagues applauded the NDP MP who brought forward a motion on Palestinian statehood Monday. Housefather says he is reflecting on the motion and whether he can stay in the role of parliamentary secretary. The Liberal government endorsed an amended version of the motion.

Housefather, Ben Carr and Marco Mendicino were the only Liberal MPs to vote against the amended motion.

At the time, Housefather said the motion suggested “a false equivalency between the State of Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas.”

“Canada should be standing with Israel. Canada should be defending the right of Israel to fight back against a terrorist organization. We should not be passing motions that make a terrorist organization equivalent to a democratic state,” he said.

Housefather told Cochrane he still thinks the motion was “absolutely terrible” but he will continue to fight for his values in the Liberal caucus.

“I can’t pretend to say that everything the government will do will be something that I agree with, but at least I’ll have my voice at the table,” he said.

“If my voice is not there, that’s taking away a pro-Israel voice away from the party that’s in power.”

Nearly 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel on Oct. 7 — most of them civilians — and about 250 people were taken hostage, according to Israeli officials. More than 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed during Israel’s military response since then, health officials in the territory say. Those figures do not differentiate between civilians and combatants, though Gaza officials say two-thirds of those killed are women and children.

In his statement on Friday, Housefather said he heard from thousands of Canadians, including some from outside his riding. He said he whatever decision he made “would make many people unhappy.”

“Despite the strong feelings on either side, I have been very gratified … that so many recognized how difficult the decision was for me and how many of my constituents pledged to support me regardless of the decision that I made,” he said.



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