A House of Commons petition addressed to the prime minister of Canada is demanding Justin Trudeau calls for the bombing to stop in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war that has killed several innocent civilians.
The petition, started by Maëva Gaudrault Valente of Montreal, had the backing of more than 123,000 Canadians by Nov. 4 and lists the "creation of a humanitarian corridor" as one of its top demands.
The appeal insists the Canadian government meets its commitments under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law while taking all steps necessary to building lasting peace by protecting both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
Yahoo Canada reached out to Valente for a comment but did not receive a response by deadline.
After opening on Oct. 24 for signatures, social media users widely circulated the petition online, with Canadians urging for an end to the human catastrophe following the tragic events that began on Oct. 7.
"Canadians who support a ceasefire in Gaza — please take a moment and sign this House of Commons petition. ... I refuse to believe that only 0.3 per cent of Canadian adults support this!" a Facebook user penned in a post sharing the petition.
Another Facebook user emphazised how "helpless" they felt for not being able to do much for the civilians caught up in the middle of the war on the other side of the world.
"As a Canadian, I feel so helpless with what is going on in the Middle East. It might not be much, but I will use my voice every way I can, and that means signing this petition to demand our government act and demand a ceasefire. Opting out of voting was such a huge act of cowardice from our government on the heels of their standing ovation and honouring of a Nazi war veteran calling him a hero," they posted.
On Reddit, several communities shared the petition calling on the Canadian government to act faster while also sharing their disappointment at the lack of initiative from the country.
"It's 2023 and we have to petition our prime minister to not support genocide," said a user.
"We suck as a nation, with our own justifications, ideologies and ignorance of our own genocidal and settler colonial past and present. To call these things into question is to question your own identity as a Canadian/Westerner — and for many, this is too much," commented another user in a different community group.
The House of Commons petition has the most signatures from Ontario (more than 62,000), then British Columbia (16,539) and Quebec (15,510). The least number of signatures come from Nunavut (37) out of all Canadian territories and provinces.
The Oxfam Canada petition has also gathered more than 40,000 signatures from Canadians who are urging the Trudeau government to call for an immediate ceasefire.
Oxfam Canada Director of Policy and Campaigns Diana Sarosi said while the parliamentary petition carried significant weight, it is important for Canadians to keep pushing the government towards a quicker action.
"We need more and more people to call out and sign these petitions to let the government know what Canadians really want," Sarosi told Yahoo Canada.
Trudeau recently vocalised the need for humanitarian pauses in Gaza to allow for aid to reach those in dire need of it.
As we call for renewed efforts toward a two-state solution, we’ll continue to advocate for humanitarian pauses, for humanitarian aid to be delivered, and for international law to be upheld. Canada is committed to the goal of just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 2, 2023
Sarosi told Yahoo Canada while relief organizations like Oxfam welcome the Canadian government's support, "pauses" — as pushed for by different governments — aren't much help.
"The pause is not enough," Sarosi shared emphatically. "Firstly, what does that even mean? A few hours a day? A couple of days? So it's really impossible to prepare for a response when the roads are bombed and there is no water or fuel. We really need a ceasefire.
"There are a lot of civilians who have already died. Many are injured and too many on the brink of starvation. Every day counts. We can't wait any longer."
The Oxfam official said relief organizations must be given access for the sake of civilian lives that are being lost every minute.
"There has been some help going in the last few days but it's only a drop in the ocean," Sarosi added. "With the continuous bombardment, it's impossible to provide help.
"There is no access for organizations like Oxfam, plus it's also not safe to deliver the basics given the current circumstances. A pause is just not enough."