Port Moody motion calling for Israel-Hamas ceasefire struck down

The Port Moody city council meeting on Tuesday night became heated amid a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

It came after a motion was passed, and subsequently revoked, after allegations of harassment against councillors in March.

Port Moody Mayor Meghan Lahti said the ongoing war falls out of the city’s jurisdiction, claiming nothing will come from the city weighing in.

“I encourage every member of this council, or residents of this community as individuals, to take any position that their conscience dictates — to contact your local MP, to contact the Prime Minister of Canada, if you so choose,” she said.

“But here at this table, we’re going to focus on the community. In my mind, we all need to take a step back.”

While the motion was re-visited and failed, council did state its support for the federal government’s calls for an immediate ceasefire.

“Taking a position on something that is so outside of our authority, causes members of this community to be afraid,” Lahti continued.

“We cannot be okay with that. We as a council can’t let that happen. I don’t regret voting against the motion, and so technically the motion wasn’t rescinded. It was defeated.”

Lahti said along with it being out of council’s jurisdiction, the “issue is fraught with nuances that we are not in any way equipped to deal with.”

“That was evident here tonight. I think it was the right thing to do for council to vote that motion down, and this motion, I’m not going to be supporting”

Council’s decision comes after the Palestinian death toll from the war passed 33,200, with nearly 76,000 wounded, Gaza’s Health Ministry said Wednesday. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has escalated his pledge to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which is filled with around 1.4 million Palestinians, most of whom are displaced from other parts of the Gaza Strip.

The war began Oct. 7 when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 people hostage.