Jama and Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles on the night of the Hamilton Centre MPP’s by-election win, March 17, 2023. At present, Stiles is standing by her MPP and has not answered calls to kick Jama out of the NDP caucus. Photo credit: Twitter/Marit Stiles
Hamilton Centre Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Sarah Jama is at the centre of yet another controversy after she posted a statement on social media regarding the Palestine-Israel conflict in which she failed to condemn the terrorist attack by Hamas that took place over the weekend.
It was then also revealed that Jama attended a controversial pro-Palestine rally in Toronto.
The rally was advertised as a “celebration” of “heroic Palestinian resistance”. It took place merely a day after the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas killed 800 Israelis and took at least 100 hostages including mothers, children, and the elderly.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called on Jama to resign as an MPP, and Canadian Jewish groups have called on Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles to kick Jama out of the party.
However, at the time of writing, Jama remains both an MPP and member of the Ontario NDP, with Stiles deciding to stand by the Hamilton Centre MPP for the fourth time.
Nevertheless, Stiles still faces calls to remove Jama from the party.
Here’s a timeline of the events:
Saturday, October 7, 2023 – 6:30AM Israel time
Palestinian terrorist group Hamas launches an air and ground attack on Israel, firing about 2,000 rockets and taking at least 100 hostages. Over 2,000 Israelis are injured and over 600 killed.
Sunday, October 8, 2023 – 2:00PM EST
A group holds a pro-Palestine rally in Toronto. The rally is advertised as a “celebration” of “heroic Palestinian resistance” and appears to be in support of the Hamas terrorist attack.
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 – 2:17PM EST
Jama releases a statement that appears to justify the Hamas attack, saying that the “violence and retaliation” is “rooted in settler colonialism.”
She proclaims, “free Palestine.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), representing Jewish Federations across Canada, releases a statement condemning Jama’s post and calling for her to be removed from the Ontario NDP. Multiple Jewish organizations echo the call.
Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles issues a press release asking Jama to “retract her statement” and “state clearly that she decries any violence against both Israeli and Palestinian people.”
A video is posted online showing Jama attending the pro-Palestine rally in Toronto.
This is the same rally that was organized as a “celebration” of “heroic Palestinian resistance.”
Ontario Liberal Party Interim Leader John Fraser joins calls for Jama to be removed from the Ontario NDP.
Wednesday, October 11, 2023 – 12:17PM
Jama’s statement continues to remain up with no further response.
Premier Doug Ford releases a strongly worded statement calling on Jama to resign as an MPP. Ford says he’s doing “what Marit Stiles won’t” and that Jama’s views “have no place in the legislature” and “have no place in this province.”
Jama breaks her silence. Over 24 hours after her original statement, Jama makes further comments on social media below her original post.
She says she has heard “concerns” about her post and that she “unequivocally condemns terrorism by Hamas.”
However, Jama keeps her original post up and does not address the fact that she attended a controversial pro-Palestine rally.
Stiles releases a statement accepting Jama’s “apology”, but does not mention Jama’s attendance at the pro-Palestine rally.
Stiles also doesn’t address the fact that she had actually also previously asked Jama to “retract” her statement.
Jama remains an MPP and in the Ontario NDP caucus.
CIJA releases a new statement saying that Jama’s “apology” is “far too little, and far too late.” They once again call on Jama to be removed from the Ontario NDP.
Other Jewish organizations follow suit, again calling for Jama to be removed from the Ontario NDP. Various PC Party MPPs and Ministers call for the same.
This is now the fourth time Jama has been at the centre of controversy in a matter of months.
Jama was under fire for statements and attendance at controversial rallies prior to getting elected, made headlines for calling a convicted terrorist a “martyr of freedom” in May, and attended an anti-fascist, pro-Palestine abolish the police rally in Toronto in July.
Jama’s attendance at the pro-Palestine rally remains unaddressed, she continues to be an MPP and in the Ontario NDP caucus despite all four of these controversies, and her post from October 10 is still up on social media.
Based in Hamilton, he reaches hundreds of thousands of people monthly on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. He has been published in The Hamilton Spectator, Stoney Creek News, and Bay Observer. He has also been a segment host with Cable 14 Hamilton. In 2017, he received the Chancellor Full Tuition Scholarship from the University of Ottawa (BA, 2022). He has also received the Governor General’s Academic Medal. He formerly worked in a non-partisan role on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.