Canada’s official opposition Conservative Party announced its recognition that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Erin O’Toole matter-of-factly made the announcement Saturday during a foreign policy plenary at the Manning Networking Conference, where Canadian social and fiscal conservatives meet every year to discuss policy.
The statement was prompted when an audience member asked O’Toole if Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.
”Yes,” he responded.
Since President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the U.S. embassy there, there has been virtual silence from both the Canadian government and opposition.
“The strong presence of the Jewish people there is thousands of years old. But the modern era of Israel — the Knesset is in Jerusalem, the Supreme Court, most of the foreign affairs and government ministries in West Jerusalem. And you can support an option of the two-state solution while also recognizing that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel,” O’Toole, an Ontario Member of Parliament, told the audience.
“My personal view,” O’Toole continued, “is that Canada needs more of a presence on the ground in Jerusalem. A lot of our allies have consular presences in the city, some countries have consular presences in East and West Jerusalem. So that’s where I think Canada needs to go.”
The Conservatives committed themselves to moving the Canadian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem once before — during the 1979 federal election campaign that led to the short-lived Tory government of Prime Minister Joe Clark. Clark reversed his decision after critics said the decision would endanger Canadian relations with Arab nations in the Middle East.