Ontario Premier Calls for Motion on BDS That Is 'Not Divisive'

Kathleen Wynne made the suggestion following the defeat of a motion last month in the Ontario legislature that condemned the BDS campaign as the 'insidious new face of anti-Semitism.'

Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, speaks during an interview at the Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, May 21, 2015.
Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, speaks during an interview at the Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, May 21, 2015. Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomberg

The premier of Canada’s most populous province is calling for a motion on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that all parties can live with.

Kathleen Wynne of the Liberal Party made the suggestion on the heels of the defeat of a motion last month in the Ontario legislature that condemned the BDS campaign as the “insidious new face of anti-Semitism.” Introduced by the Conservative opposition, the measure fell in the provincial parliament by a vote of 39-18.

The Liberal government argued the legislation would not improve security in the Middle East, while the left-leaning New Democratic Party saw the measure as an attack on freedom of speech and association.

Fresh from leading a trade mission to Israel, where Wynne said she “entirely” opposes the BDS movement, the premier was grilled last week in the legislature about her party’s failure to support the motion.

“Let’s figure out if we can craft a motion that is not divisive, that is actually unifying in nature, [one] that actually is not flawed,” she said.

“I made this commitment when I was on the mission that we would work with the opposition parties and that we would try to come up with a motion that would pass in this legislature that would reflect the inclusiveness of all the members of this legislature … in the coming weeks.”

Conservative legislator Gila Martow called Wynne’s pledge “a step forward,” but didn’t like her use of the word divisive, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

“To me, the only thing I see that is divisive is her [pro-Israel] opinion,” given that the rest of her caucus voted against the bill, Martow said.