MPP Sarah Jama speaking in the Ontario Legislature on October 23.
MPP Sarah Jama speaking in the Ontario Legislature on October 23. Credit: Sarah Jama / X Credit: Sarah Jama / X

On Monday, October 23 the Ontario NDP voted to remove Hamilton Centre MPP Sarah Jama from their caucus.

Jama had issued a statement on October 10 calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. In her statement Jama referenced Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory who characterized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid.

“Especially with this context in mind, the news coming out of Israel and Palestine is deeply concerning,” reads Jama’s statement. “For 75 years violence and retaliation rooted in settler colonialism have taken the lives of far too many innocent people. I call for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation.”

On October 7 Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli settlements and killed over 1,400 Israeli civilians.

Israel has since begun a blockade of the Hamas controlled Gaza strip and has bombarded the area, killing approximately 7,000 Palestinian civilians at time of writing.

Jama faced backlash for her statement on October 10 calling for a ceasefire and de-escalation, including from Ontairo Premier and Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford, who characterized Jama’s statements publicly as “supporting the rape and murder of innocent Jewish people.”

Jama has since threatened to sue Ford for libel.

Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles had been silent on the issue until after the vote to remove Jama from caucus became public.

Stiles stated that earlier she and Jama had come to an agreement to work together in good faith, an agreement Stiles claimed that Jama had undermined.

“Since then, she has undertaken a number of unilateral actions that have undermined our collective work and broken the trust of her colleagues,” Stiles’ statement reads. “Some of Ms. Jama’s actions have contributed to unsafe work environments for staff. As such, with support of Ontario NDP MPPs, I have been left with no option but to remove Ms. Jama from our Caucus.”

Stiles faces backlash from other NDP members

Prominent members of the NDP, as well as riding associations, reacted and condemned Jama’s expulsion from caucus.

Jama’s own riding association released a scathing statement calling the decision “an attack on democracy, social justice and all those activists who fight for truth and human rights.”

“In removing MPP Jama from caucus, the ONDP leadership has demonstrated complete disrespect and contempt for the constituents of Hamilton Centre riding,” the statement goes on to read.

Jama’s federal counterpart in the riding of Hamilton Centre, NDP MP Matthew Green released a statement in support of Jama.

“The actions taken against Sarah Jama censoring her in the Legislature and her expulsion from the Ontario NDP caucus perpetuates a long history of racialized voices being dismissed and ignored in spaces where decisions are made,” Green’s statement reads. “MPP Jama’s removal from caucus was a decision taken by the Ontario NDP alone.”

ONDP MP for Toronto-St. Paul Dr. Jill Andrew stated that she was not consulted and did not support Jama’s removal from caucus.

Andrew, a Black woman, also criticized Stiles’ statement specifically.

“The release went on to conjure what I feel were stereotypical tropes often used to communicate about Black people, especially Black women, who are perceived as difficult. I expressed my concerns about this release to the leadership team and to my caucus members,” reads a statement from Andrew on X (formerly twitter).

The Kitchener Ontario NDP has called for Marit Stiles to step down as leader.

On the day of her removal from caucus and censure in the Ontario Legislature, Jama made another statement calling for a ceasefire and criticized Israel’s ongoing bombing campaign of Gaza as an example of collective punishment of civilians.

“Government and Institutions in Canada are trying to use their voices and weight to silence us. To silence workers, students and educators and peace loving people who dare to support Palestine.” Jama said. “And to everyone who’s taking a risk to speak up for Palestinian dignity and safety I see you, I hear you, and I am with you.”

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Nick Seebruch

Nick Seebruch has been the editor of since April 2022. He believes that fearless independent journalism is key for the survival of a healthy democracy. An OCNA award-winning journalist, for...