June 23, 2021
OTTAWA — Canada’s central labour organization appears to have violated its own constitution by purportedly adopting an anti-Israel resolution last week.
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), an umbrella group including most of the country’s labour unions, held its annual convention virtually with over 4000 delegates.
On Friday, the final day of the convention, anti-Israel groups announced that the CLC had adopted an “emergency resolution” calling for a ban on goods produced by Jews east of the Green Line, divestment from Israeli security companies, and a halt to Canadian arms sales to Israel.
The resolution made no mention of Hamas, the terrorist group which recently fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians and regularly calls to murder Jews, nor of the barrage of antisemitic attacks in Canadian cities that accompanied the recent Israel-Hamas fighting.
Due to rocket misfires, it has now been widely reported that many of the deaths even on the Palestinian side were the direct result of Hamas’ attacks – making obsessive anti-Israel resolutions such as this one all the more irresponsible.
The CLC’s own convention website says emergency resolutions can be adopted, but also that “the approval of two thirds of convention delegates is required before an emergency resolution can be considered,” referencing Article 11, Section 4.e of the CLC Constitution.
The anti-Israel resolution supposedly adopted on Friday was never approved by convention delegates at all, let alone by a 2/3 majority.
Ironically, a number of anti-Israel resolutions were submitted to the convention, but none of them were ranked high enough by members to come to a vote on the convention floor.
Both B’nai Brith Canada and The Canadian Jewish News have asked the CLC to explain this apparent violation of its Constitution, but have received no reply to date. The CLC has not posted the text of the resolution to its website since the convention.
“It seems that labour democracy has joined truth as another victim of the Middle East conflict,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The text of this resolution is deplorable on its own merits, but the CLC owes an explanation to Canadian workers and Canadian Jewry as to why it failed to observe the terms of its own Constitution and acted in such an undemocratic manner.
“The CLC would do well to remember the wise words of Tommy Douglas, one of the great icons of Canada’s labour movement: ‘The main enmity against Israel is that she has been an affront to those nations who do not treat their people and their workers as well as Israel has treated hers.’”
The CLC’s affiliated unions, including the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and others, together represent around 3.3 million workers.
On Tuesday, just days after the CLC convention ended, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed outgoing CLC President Hassan Yussuff to the Senate.
B’nai Brith wishes to acknowledge the work of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre in bringing the community’s attention to this important issue earlier this week.