City of Burnaby becomes first municipality in Canada to call for Gaza ceasefire

Burnaby city advocates for peace in Gaza

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This is a photo of the outside of SFU Burnaby’s city hall. The building has a lot of plants and trees around it.
PHOTO: Jeff Hitchcock / Unsplash

By: Eden Chipperfield, News Writer

Content warning: mentions of genocide and war. 

At the Burnaby City Council meeting on November 6, the Council Chamber unanimously voted to call for a ceasefire in Gaza in support of Palestine during the ongoing genocide. 

The decision came from listening to public criticism on the Canadian government’s lack of action. The City of Burnaby has reportedly become the first Canadian city to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, which is currently occupied by Israeli forces. Since then, Burnaby’s actions have gained traction across Canada, including other municipalities such as Saskatoon, Maple Ridge, Brampton, and many more in BC

The decision dictates that Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley will write a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “request that the federal government call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, release of all hostages, and flow of humanitarian aid.” Furthermore, the Council and mayor of Burnaby are condemning “all acts of anti-Semitism, anti-Palestine racism, and Islamophobia in our communities which have risen since the escalation of violence in the past month.” At the time of publication, Israel voted for a four day truce, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the Israeli offensive will resume. This comes after the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said Israel has “dropped more than 25,000 tons of explosives” over the Gaza strip, which is equivalent to the force of over two nuclear bombs. Some publications also report that Israel has already violated ceasefire by shooting at Palestinians, including those injured, returning north of Gaza. 

Councillor Daniel Terault, who is Jewish and introduced the motion on November 6, delivered a speech after expressing his support for the movement. He cited the climbing number of people who have died in Gaza — which the United Nations reported to be as high as 20,000. “When my grandparents spoke of this time as survivors of concentration camps, they always said, ‘Never again. Never again can we allow this to happen to anyone,’” expressed Tetrault. The phrase “never again” is now being used by many to highlight the violence against Palestinians.

Since October, the National Council of Canadian Muslims has advocated for a ceasefire and commended Burnaby for taking actionable steps to call for action. The BC Muslim Association released a letter on October 30 written to Prime Minister Trudeau about the Gazan citizens who are facing extreme crises such as a lack of food, security, freshwater, and overwhelmed hospitals. “As Canadians, we have a proud history of advocating for peace, justice, and human rights globally,” the letter said. Muhammed Asad Gondal, president of BCMA, said, “I implore you, Hon. Prime Minister, to use your influence and partner with another world leader to urge all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire.” 

Since the calls for a ceasefire began, Prime Minister Trudeau has not addressed the demands for ceasefire. Canada has donated $60 million for humanitarian assistance to Gaza while continuing to sell military weapons to Israel. 

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