On Monday, we heard the official announcement that Trudeau would be attending Toronto’s annual Pride Parade, a festival he has already attended for years beforehand as Liberal leader.


Nevertheless, the story was picked up by all major media outlets, and Canadians gushed, celebrating as if having the Prime Minister at Pride meant Canada had reached a symbolic milestone. Another reminder that the homophobic, helmet-haired Harper was no more. Long live our Liberal king with the lovely locks, our true progressive saviour!


The big symbolic announcement soon overshadowed what was happening in Ottawa. On Feb. 22, the House of Commons voted to condemn the Canadian Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement against Israeli companies. The vote was pushed primarily by Conservative leader Rona Ambrose and formereditor for the newspaper, Tony Clement. Trudeau and a vast majority of his Liberals voted in lockstep with the Conservatives. About a dozen Liberals abstained and three voted against the motion.


This vote is disappointing because it continues the Conservative legacy of looking at the Middle East as a game of absolutes when Trudeau promised us the opposite approach. The Conservative government harmed Canada’s reputation abroad for a decade by squarely putting itself behind Israel. UN votes on the topic would often see Canada and the US as the only opponents, as Harper shackled us to American interests on the international stage.


Abstentions mean more at the UN than they do in Parliament. If Trudeau wants to return Canada to its previous reputation of strong peacekeeping and as an arbiter in diplomacy, we can’t pick sides so overtly over such a disputed region.


After all, both sides have well-entrenched supporters in Canada. The right to non-violent free speech our Charter ensures means the legitimacy of either stance need not be subject to a vote. Can the government really convince Jewish and Arab Canadians what good and bad means in the Middle East? Give me a break.



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