‘Anti-Black NDP just won’t do’: Canadian leaders, citizens back Sarah Jama as they lose faith in Ontario NDP leadership

Some Canadians are disappointed in the NDP for the removal of Jama from caucus, while others are applauding Stiles for making a bold move

‘Anti-Black NDP just won’t do’: Canadian leaders, citizens back Sarah Jama as they lose faith in Ontario NDP leadership

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

"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.

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.

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.