Petitions tabled in the House of Commons Thursday calling for a ceasefire in Gaza on Thursday were "an outlet" for Windsor-Essex residents to connect with loved ones impacted by the Israel-Hamas conflict, Windsor West Liberal MP Brian Masse says.
Masse tabled two petitions on Thursday, both calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, as well as the creation of a humanitarian corridor and emergency humanitarian response. Together, the petitions had more than 1,100 signatures.
"Currently, right now there is a siege on Gaza which has cost tens of thousands of injuries and there are also lives that have been lost. Sadly there has also been a blockade and the petitioners are calling for countries to meet their international agreements and a potential genocide is taking place," Masse said while presenting the petitions. "We are calling for the lifting of the siege, and more importantly, calling for a ceasefire."
Masse said the petitions, started at the end of last year, included support from residents across Windsor and Essex County.
"They took the initiatives and (collected signatures) in a number of different places," Masse said. "It was done at places of education, places of worship of all types and also places around the community.
"And sadly, things have continued to get much more dire and there's been a lot more deaths … than they had when those petitions were signed."
Masse said while he will always present petitions from residents, his office had been "inundated" with calls from people with relatives in Gaza.
Michael Malowitz, president of the Windsor Jewish Federation, said he was not opposed to the petitions and said a ceasefire would be warranted. But he said he objected to describing the conflict as a genocide, something Masse suggested in his remarks to the House of Commons, though the petitions themselves didn't include that language.
Next, Masse says the government will have to present a response. Presenting a petition, he says, is one way residents can show the government what they believe.
"I think this is one of the reasons that the petitions mean a lot to people is because it gives them an outlet to say to the people that they're wanting to connect with and they're worried about and that they've lost, that they're doing what they can."
Masse's petitions join an online petition presented last month, also calling for a ceasefire, that had more than 380,000 signatures.