Open Letter Re: Israel and Gaza

December 11th, 2023

TO: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Minister Mélanie Joly
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

 

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Joly,

I am deeply concerned with the tragedy that continues to unfold in Israel and Gaza. The heart wrenching situation has resulted in many thousands of lives lost, mostly civilians, and countless more affected by the devastating impact of this conflict.

As a City Councillor I have heard from residents of my community directly affected by the crisis who are concerned for family and friends in the region. Their impassioned pleas for support and action have resonated with me and have prompted me to stand in solidarity with their calls for peace.

I have also heard from communities facing a rising tide of hate, particularly antisemitism and Islamophobia. No one should feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods or places of worship. Now is a time to support our neighbours and continue to stand together against acts of hate and dehumanization. 

As a local leader connected to the daily lives of my constituents, I am in a position to advocate for immediate action in response to the humanitarian crises that affect them. Even though this issue is one of global politics, I want to amplify the voices of constituents, and feel a moral responsibility to do so now.

I am not alone in the effort to amplify the voices of constituents calling for peace at the municipal level. Not only have municipalities worldwide joined the calls for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine but so, too, have Canadian cities, including Brampton and Burnaby.

As a Councillor committed to peace, I wish to recognize and support these calls from my community, and from across the city: 

  • An immediate and permanent humanitarian ceasefire.
  • Unrestricted access to humanitarian aid.
  • The release of all hostages.

I believe that, in critical moments such as this, we need to use whatever influence we have to stand up for human rights and peace for all. I am asking that your government do so as well and join these calls from Ottawa residents.

Finally, I ask that your government remain committed to condemning all acts of antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia in our community. The rise of such acts is cause for great concern and goes against the principles of equality and inclusion we as public office holders ought to uphold.

 

Regards,

Shawn Menard, Ottawa City Councillor for Ward 17

 

PDF version here

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