— irina cerić (has the same BSky handle) 🍉 (@irinaceric) October 25, 2023
Messages of support for Sarah Jama are pouring in online after her removal from the Ontario NDP caucus earlier this week that has now left the Hamilton MPP without the backing of a political party.
The former New Democrat was kicked out by Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles on Monday following a tumultuous couple of weeks that started with her controversial comments over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East.
Jama, who was also voted by Doug Ford's PCs to be censured in the House and is now an independent MPP, showed support for Palestine in the current war, referring to the struggle of Palestinians under occupation as ‘Israeli apartheid’ while calling for immediate ceasefire and restoration of food, water, fuel and electricity to Gaza.
Supporters of Jama, especially Black and Muslim Canadians and former NDP MPPs, are unhappy and disgruntled by the decision-making brought to light this week by the Ontario NDP leadership.
“Two former NDP MPPs, one riding association president and a slew of volunteers have condemned Marit Stiles' decision to kick Sarah Jama from caucus. Party execs are discussing how to push back internally,” The Trillium reporter Jack Hauen posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Two former NDP MPPs, one riding association president and a slew of volunteers have condemned Marit Stiles' decision to kick Sarah Jama from caucus.
Party execs are discussing how to push back internally.
No paywall. 🔓#onpolihttps://t.co/lxOxTJBzPY
— Jack Hauen (@jackhauen) October 25, 2023
Dr. Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s, a staunch advocate of Body Equity and Fashion Diversity, denounced the removal of Jama from caucus on X.
“It's been brought to my attention that many Ontario NDP members and members of other communities are under the impression that there was a vote, consensus, or agreement between leadership & the Ontario NDP Caucus, of which I am a member, to remove MPP Sarah Jama from caucus…”
Dr. Andrew continued, “It's also been brought to my attention that people have been specifically told by leadership in various conversations that I supported the decision to remove MPP Sarah Jama from the Ontario NDP Caucus. I did not support this decision for a variety of reasons,” the NDP MPP posted.
I learned about this decision on Monday, October 23, 2023 at 11:11AM via email while sitting in my MPP seat in the legislature, when the decision was already made. The subsequent press release stated with support of our Ontario NDP MPPs a decision was made to remove the member.
— Dr. Jill Andrew, PhD (she/her) (@JILLSLASTWORD) October 25, 2023
The NDP member also criticized their party’s statement that, in their point of view, paints Black women in a bad light.
“The release went on to conjure what I feel were stereotypical tropes often used to communicate about Black people, especially Black women, who are perceived as difficult. I expressed my concerns about this release to the leadership team and to my caucus members,” Doctor Andrew shared on X.
The release went on to conjure what I feel were stereotypical tropes often used to communicate about Black people, especially Black women, who are perceived as difficult. I expressed my concerns about this release to the leadership team and to my caucus members.
— Dr. Jill Andrew, PhD (she/her) (@JILLSLASTWORD) October 25, 2023
Amid the fallout, reports of treating Sarah Jama by her party bosses also surfaced online.
“Spoke to sources close to Sarah Jama: They claim there was a level of mistreatment from the NDP toward Sarah Jama, especially in how she was communicated to by top levels of ONDP brass. They say Marit Stiles was aware of what Jama possibly suing the Premier,” reported journalist Ahmar Khan of Global News on X.
Ontario New Democratic Youth Chair Avreet Jagdev accused the NDP of mistreating women of colour.
“Outing myself as the current ONDY chair, although it hasn't yet been updated on the website. While I don't speak for the exec, I am horrified by the decision to remove @SarahJama_ from caucus. It is indicative of how the party would treat me & every other WOC on this list,” Jagdev wrote in a post on X.
outing myself as the current ONDY chair, although it hasn't yet been updated on the website.
while i don't speak for the exec, i am horrified by the decision to remove @SarahJama_ from caucus. it is indicative of how the party would treat me & every other WOC on this list. https://t.co/IzIq4bYovK
— avreet jagdev (@AvreetJ) October 25, 2023
Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles applauded, criticized for her decision
Marit Stiles, who’s Toronto office was vandalized a day after Jama was booted from the party, organically became the centre of most discussions online surrounding Jama’s eviction.
My Jewish family and I have donated to and volunteered for the Ontario NDP for years.
We fully appreciate the bravery & transparency of @JILLSLASTWORD and we call for the immediate resignation of @MaritStiles and the reinstatement of @SarahJama_ nothing less!#onpoli #NDP https://t.co/gDczDWXXJA
— Akio Maroon 🦻🏾 (@AkioMaroon) October 25, 2023
We really need to keep the pressure on the @OntarioNDP and @MaritStiles, this isn't a new thing.
I've been publicly calling out the party for tokenizing racialized folks since 2021, other members have done it for longer. https://t.co/LL4OkNFemD
— Joy Henderson (@Joyhenderson78) October 25, 2023
"Last Ontario General I nearly didn't vote at all like so many Ontarians. This anti-Black pro apartheid NDP just won't do," said another user on X.
Haven't been around much but log on during my lunch to see Marit Stiles ratfucking the ONDP.
Last Ontario General I nearly didn't vote at all like so many Ontarians. This anti-Black pro apartheid NDP just won't do.
— The Lefty Canadian Radical 🐀 (@Tori_TLCR) October 25, 2023
Sarah Jama stuck to her principles even though she knew it would cost her. That more than anything scared the hell out of every careerist pol in the land
— trapdinawrpool (@trapdinawrpool) October 25, 2023
Calls for Stiles to step down as the leader of the Ontario NDP have also been gaining momentum with the Hamilton Centre Ontario NDP Riding Association accusing Stiles of betraying Sarah Jama.
“By disrupting MPP Sarah Jama’s constituency office operations she (Stiles) has effectively denied the people of Hamilton Centre ready access to critical support services; primarily residents on ODSP,” the Hamilton Centre Riding Association executive committee said in a statement.
“This betrayal by leader Marit Stiles and the senior staff at the ONDP has destroyed the hopes of many activists, organizers, and community members whose efforts secured every single poll for MPP Sarah Jama in the recent by-election.
Here's a scathing statement from the Hamilton-Centre Ontario New Democratic Party Riding Association condemning Leader Marit Stiles' removal of MPP Sarah Jama.
"We demand that the ONDP rescind their removal of MPP Sarah Jama from the ONDP caucus immediately" pic.twitter.com/fJNP2dswVx
— Ahmar Khan (@AhmarSKhan) October 26, 2023
As a result, Sarah Jama is undeterred in her support for Palestine and serving the people of Hamilton as she pledged to continue representing her constituents as an independent MPP.
"Please bear with us during this time," Jama said in an email to her constituents. "I am very committed to the constituents in Hamilton Centre, and will continue to be here to support you," according to the CBC.