November 20, 2023


The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

Re: Concern about Gaza and call for a ceasefire

On behalf of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canada’s largest trade union, we are writing to express our deep concern about the rising death toll in Gaza, the safety of all the hostages, and the level of violence being inflicted on the Palestinian people by Israel. It is time for the Government of Canada to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.

CUPE released a statement on October 10 condemning all acts of violence against innocent civilians and expressed horror following the Hamas attack on Israel and the retribution by the State of Israel on the people of Palestine. We urged the Government of Canada to call for a ceasefire, for the enforcement of international law, and to work toward a peaceful resolution that upholds the rights to life and freedom of Palestinians and Israelis.

When we predicted that the full siege that had been declared on Gaza by Israel would worsen conditions for residents who were already struggling under the decades long blockade, we could not have imaged the horror they are experiencing today. It is incomprehensible that after Israeli attacks have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including 5,000 children, the Government of Canada still refuses to call for a ceasefire. The global NGO Save the Children has reported that there were more children killed in Gaza over in the first three weeks of violence than the total number in global conflicts since 2019, combined. 

We were shocked when Canada abstained from a vote on an emergency resolution calling for an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce at the UN General Assembly on October 27. Thousands of lives could have been saved. Canada can no longer claim to be a champion of peace and a defender of human rights on the world stage.

The list of international laws being violated by the State of Israel today is long. International law scholars and experts and United Nations officials are warning that a genocide is happening before our eyes. Canada has an absolute obligation to prevent a genocide from happening and to stop a genocide in progress.

CUPE has long recognized the need for the Israeli government to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories and abide by UN resolutions and international law.  CUPE stands in solidarity with all who struggle for genuine peace and justice in the region, and we call on the Canadian government to do the same. 

Yours truly, 

National President National Secretary-Treasurer
The Honourable M. Joly, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs
J.Singh, MP, NDP Leader
H. McPherson, MP, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic
B.Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York
B.Bruske, President, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)