Green Party calls for reversal of government decision that misleads Canadian consumers

(OTTAWA) — The Green Party of Canada is dismayed by the recent decision of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to reverse its earlier decision, which called for goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements to be accurately labelled.

“We are in strong support of accurate labelling for consumer goods being imported into Canada, as this is Canadian law. Goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements — located within militarily occupied territory — that are mislabelled as ‘Made in Israel,’ are in clear violation of the Canadian Food and Drugs Act,” says Paul Manly, the Green Party’s Trade Critic.

The LCBO received a letter from the CFIA on July 6 notifying it that wines produced from grapes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) should not be labelled as being made in Israel, as this “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading.” Under Canada’s official policy, it does not recognize these territories as being a part of Israel, and considers these Israeli settlements to be illegal.

"Green Party of Canada members ratified a policy that calls for clarity in labelling and trade status under CIFTA for products made in illegal settlements. The subsequent passage of UN Resolution 2334 effectively called for member nations to do just that," says Jeff Wheeldon, International Affairs Critic. "As Canada charts a strong new course in international policy, voluntary respect for international law should be a guiding principle."

The CFIA reversed its decision after pressure from the Israeli embassy and special interest groups, who immediately intervened. The reason cited by the CFIA for the reversal of its earlier decision is Canada’s free trade agreement with Israel, which refers to Israel as any territory where its customs laws apply.

“Canada shouldn’t be granting preferential treatment to products made in settlements that are in clear violation of international law,” says Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “The free trade agreement therefore must be changed to reflect this. The European Union and the United States made it clear long ago that goods made in these illegal settlements cannot be mislabelled as ‘Made in Israel.’ Why is Canada singling out Israel for preferential treatment at the expense of both Palestinians’ human rights, and the rights of Canadian consumers?”

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