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Why BDS matters: A Town Hall Discussion about Illegal Occupation
October 21, 2016- 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
At its August 2016 convention in Ottawa the Green Party of Canada passed a policy resolution to become the first (and only) party with representation in the House of Commons to publicly support elements of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to respect international law, and oppose efforts to “prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.”
The Green Party quickly came under intense pressure from pro-Israeli organizations for its democratic adoption of the resolution. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May reacted by expressing her disagreement with the resolution, firing three members of her shadow cabinet who publicly supported the resolution, and calling a “special general meeting” on December 3-4 in Calgary to revisit, and potentially reverse, the resolution.
This public town hall is an opportunity for students, the general public, members of all political parties, and Green Party members of all perspectives on the resolution to learn more about the reality and aims of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), why the Green Party resolution is significant, and what can be done to support BDS and the resolution.
The evening will feature presentations by Dimitri Lascaris, former Justice Critic of the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet and author and submitter of the resolution; Sid Shniad, co-chair of Independent Jewish Voices and Audrey Siegl, Musqueam leader and activist. The panel talk will be followed by ample time for discussion and debate from attendees.
This is a free event, donations are gratefully accepted to offset costs of the event.
Organized by Canada Palestine Association, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East and the Campaign to Defend the Green Party of Canada’s BDS Policy.
About the speakers:
DIMITRI LASCARIS was the author and submitter of the Green Party resolution on “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” and was justice critic in the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet before he was removed in September by leader Elizabeth May.
He graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991, and is a practicing lawyer called to the bars of Ontario, the State of New York, and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. He graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991. In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine identified Mr. Lascaris as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine identified him as one of the 50 most influential people in Canadian business.
Lascaris is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unity Project for the Relief of Homelessness, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Real News Network, an independent, not-for-profit media organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. He previously served as a Board member of Toronto 350.org.
In the 2015 federal election, he ran as the Green Party candidate in the riding of London West.
SID SHNIAD is a member, national steering committee
Independent Jewish Voices Canada
AUDREY SIEGL (ancestral name sχɬemtəna:t) lived in East Van, where she was raised by a single father of East Indian and British heritage, and by her mother’s Musqueam family. In recent years she has moved back to the Musqueam Indian Reserve in a process of reconnecting with maternal and ancestral ties, where she has worked in the Musqueam Language and Culture Department to revitalize hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language.
She currently lives and works on the reserve, located south of Marine Drive near the mouth of the Fraser River. The reserve is a beautiful but very small portion of traditional Musqueam territory. In recent years Audrey has been an active in the Idle No More movement. She was also involved in organizing the protection of c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole Midden) in 2012, the homeless Tent City in Oppenheimer Park, stood for Vancouver City Council in the last civic election and most recently works with Green Peace.