May 29, 2024 | Flash Brief

Canada Increases Number of Temporary Visas Allotted to Gazans

May 29, 2024 | Flash Brief

Canada Increases Number of Temporary Visas Allotted to Gazans

Latest Developments

Canada announced plans on May 27 to increase the number of visas allotted to Gazans from 1,000 to 5,000. The temporary visas are reserved for relatives of Canadians and will be issued under a special visa program for Gaza that Ottawa rolled out in December. Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller said that the “cap increase” will allow the government “to help more people as the situation evolves.” The Canadian government has already issued 448 temporary visas to Gazans, including 254 outside the special visa program. The visas are valid for three years once the holder enters Canada.

Ottawa’s visa announcement followed a deadly fire at a tent camp housing civilians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah that may have been caused by a cache of concealed Hamas explosives. Nonetheless, Canada blamed the deaths on Israel’s ongoing military operation in Rafah. “We are horrified by strikes that killed Palestinian civilians in Rafah,” Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said. “This level of human suffering must come to an end. We demand an immediate ceasefire.”

Expert Analysis

“Ottawa has completely lost the plot. There is a terrorist organization that targets Israeli civilians and then uses Palestinian civilians as human shields to defend themselves. If Canada wants to end civilian suffering, its primary focus should be helping Israel defeat Hamas as quickly as possible.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Good governance is all about priorities. As Canada moves to embrace a more assertive Palestine policy, it should not lose sight of the primary source of instability in the Middle East, and one that is a threat to dissidents and diasporas in North America: The Islamic Republic of Iran. Spending time to course correct here, such as by proscribing the IRGC as a terrorist organization, will provide Ottawa with moral and strategic dividends.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

Canadian Pressure on Israel

The Canadian government has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and pressed Israel to stop operating in Rafah. At a press conference on May 24, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Israel must comply with International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders and halt its Rafah operations. “The ICJ’s proposals are binding and we expect everyone to follow them as a matter of law,” Trudeau stated. However, four of the 15 ICJ judges interpreted the ruling as allowing Israel to operate in Rafah.

In March, the House of Commons — the lower house of the Canadian parliament — passed a non-binding motion calling for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the suspension of all arms exports to Israel. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz criticized the motion on X, arguing that Ottawa’s move “undermines Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas terrorists.” Katz said that “history will judge Canada’s current action harshly” and pledged to “continue to fight until Hamas is destroyed and all hostages are returned home.”

Trudeau Government Weak on Iran

Under Trudeau’s leadership, Ottawa has refrained from confronting Hamas’s main sponsor: Iran. In January 2020, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752, killing all 176 passengers — including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents. The victims’ families have repeatedly pressed Ottawa to hold the IRGC accountable, but the Trudeau government has taken only limited action. In 2018, Trudeau failed to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization after Canadian lawmakers passed a resolution to “immediately designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a listed terrorist entity under the Criminal Code of Canada.” The House of Commons unanimously passed a similar motion on May 8. However, the motion is non-binding and requires Trudeau’s signature to have force.

Canada’s House of Commons Presses Trudeau to Designate IRGC,” FDD Flash Brief

Canada Bans Arms Exports to Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Canada must secure the release of hostages without funding Hamas,” by Tzvi Kahn

Issues:

International Organizations Iran Israel Israel at War