Motion to allow keffiyehs in Ontario legislature fails for a second time

TORONTO — A few Ontario government members have voted again today to uphold a ban on keffiyehs in the legislature, prompting some people watching question period from the public galleries to put on the scarves.

Legislative security ejected the protesters, who were shouting, "free free Palestine."

The Speaker of the legislature has ruled that people in the chamber as well as in the building cannot wear keffiyehs, which he says are being worn to make a political statement.

The leaders of all political parties in the legislature, including Premier Doug Ford, have called on the Speaker to reverse his decision.

But an NDP motion asking for unanimous consent to do so failed for a second time today when some government members said "no."

Sarah Jama, who sits as an independent after being kicked out of the NDP caucus last year, put on a keffiyeh after the motion failed, but she has so far not been asked to remove it.

A keffiyeh is a checkered scarf typically worn in Arab cultures that has come to symbolize solidarity with Palestinians.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press