The mission of the Canada Boat to Gaza is three-fold:
- To challenge the legality of the inhumane blockade of Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants.
- To expose the Canadian government’s complicity in this act of collective punishment of defenseless civilians.
- To demonstrate to the people living under the blockade that the world has not forgotten them.
In the face of the Canadian Government’s inaction, ordinary citizens have a special responsibility to use all non-violent means to challenge the blockade of Gaza in coordination with similar international efforts. The Gaza blockade would not be possible without the active diplomatic and political support of Western governments, with the Canadian government taking a leading role. Former prime minister, Stephen Harper once said that the government of Canada supports Israeli policies, ‘whatever the cost’. Given the recent announcement of a possible renewal of Canadian funding to UNRWA it may seem hopeful that the recently elected Trudeau government will change this position. However it appears our present government’s policy is at best, unclear. In a recent UN vote, Canada sided with Israel. More recently, advocates for boycotting Israel for it violations of international law (BDS) have found themselves condemned by a parliamentary motion.
Our initiative aims at publicizing the cruelty, illegality and inhumanity of Israel’s blockade over the people of Gaza and to push for a change in Canada’s foreign policy towards Israel, which has, under the Harper government condoned, accepted and in concrete terms, enabled, Israel’s multi-year blockade.
More specifically, The Canadian Boat to Gaza (CBG) is an initiative that derives its support from civil society, ordinary Canadians from all walks of life. During the first phase of our work, from August 2010 to November 2011, we raised over $400,000.00 thanks to the support of nearly 200 civil society organizations in this country and of thousands of people from diverse ethnic, religious, social, professional and political backgrounds and from all regions of the country. We maintained that the Harper government acted against the values and interests of Canada by its uncritical support of the State of Israel, despite Israel's numerous flagrant violations of international law and of human rights as documented by the U.N., the International committee of the Red Cross, and all credible international Human Rights organizations. Until the present Canadian Government changes this irresponsible position, we consider it our duty as citizens to employ all necessary non-violent means to break the Gaza blockade.
With our international partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition we are united by the will to end the illegal and immoral blockade imposed by the Israeli State on 1.8 million Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza Strip.
The blockade of Gaza acts in two ways:
- It restricts bringing essential materials and goods into Gaza thereby condemning the innocent civilian population to poverty, poor health, dependence and reduced life expectancy, and
- It does not allow regular travel or exports to leave Gaza, which severely restricts the movement of goods and people.
With its vessel the Tahrir, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, working with both Palestinians and other international partners attempted to break the blockade in both July and November of 2011. Our campaign also participated in the sailing of the Estelle in 2012, spearheaded and led the building of Gaza’s Ark in 2012 – 14, and participated in the Freedom Flotilla 3 and the sailing of the Marianne in 2015.
Presently, we are continuing to attempt to accomplish the following goals:
- Participate in sending boats to the Port of Gaza in defiance of the Israeli blockade;
- Deliver much-needed humanitarian aid; raise international awareness, and
sexports and passengers out of Gaza.
We are already succeeding in breaking the wall of silence and complicity of our governments around this inhumane blockade. Together we will break the physical, literal blockade too.
Join our cause and together we’ll break the blockade once and for all.