Nakba Bill consultation

We'll be hosting several online democratic deliberations over the next few weeks. Results from this process will be used to draft the Nakba Bill, which Matthew will table in Parliament as a private member's bill later this year.

We're using an e-democracy tool called Polis, which lets participants write and vote on comments, then identifies "opinion groups" and uses machine learning to prioritize comments with support across groups. This helps people bridge divides, hold respectful dialogue, and find ideas with broad support. Besides some high-profile uses, Polis pioneered the tech behind Community Notes and other recent work on e-democracy.

This tool (and our process) also builds on scholarly work on deliberative democracy and collective intelligence. Besides involving regular Canadians in democratic peace-building, we hope to introduce people to a new way of thinking about democracy.

For more information, see the About tab above.


Your role

If you're here, we've asked you to contribute seed comments. These are ideas a discussion starts with, before participants submit their own. Seeds will appear with your name and image, and will be voted on throughout the discussion. You'll also see how your seeds performed in the final results, so you can gauge how various ideas or frames are received by different groups.

If you want to keep voting and commenting throughout the discussion, let us know and we'll set you up with an account with the same name and image as your seeds.

Seeds will have your name and image like this:

Regular participant comments look like this:


Seed requirements

Seeds play an important role in setting a productive tone for the conversation and teaching participants what's expected of them. See the next section for examples, but here are some guidelines.

Seeds must:

  •  be 140 characters or less (this is a hard limit; we suggest using this tool)
  •  express one main idea each
  •  be respectful and on-topic

Seeds should:

  •  use clear and simple language
  •  make some argument (not just state facts)
  •  be concrete and actionable (not just rhetorical)
  •  give reasons or justifications (not just what to do, but why)

Seeds can:

  •  be consensus-oriented or polarizing (it's ok if some people disagree)
  •  express moderate or extreme positions (within reason)
  •  cite facts to make an argument

You can submit as many seeds as you want, but we suggest at least 3. Feel free to use previous public statements or write variations of the same basic idea (to test alternate framings). Seeds should be sent to the person who contacted you about this page.


Upcoming topics

After the discussion on the NDP's opposition motion on Palestine, two more discussions are scheduled, each on a slightly different topic. While some overlap is inevitable, participants will be asked to stay on the current topic in each discussion. You can submit seeds for either or both topics, and if you're not sure where an idea belongs, we'll sort them for you.


April 2-6: What should Canada do internationally?

This includes sub-topics like Canada's role in peace negotiations, diplomatic relations with Israel and Palestine, work at international bodies like the UN and ICJ, humanitarian aid, cooperation with civil society in the region, sanctions, trade agreements, etc.

Because this process will inform the federal NDP, ideas should focus on what the federal government can do. But ideas for provincial governments, quasi-public institutions, civil society groups, or others are welcome if they fit the topic and are concrete, actionable, and relevant to all Canadians.

Some example comments for this topic:

  • Palestinians don't have a sufficient voice at the UN, so we have to resolve this before trying to negotiate a permanent solution.
  • Our trade agreements with Israel should not cover products produced in the occupied West Bank.
  • Canada should help facilitate dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian civil society.
  • Canada must support the ICJ case or else lose its reputation as a country that respects international law.
  • We should support the US's aid pier for Gaza, but it can't be a permanent solution to get aid to Palestinians.
  • Individuals and organizations calling for genocide should be sanctioned in Canada.
  • Organizations receiving Canadian government funding should have to pledge to not support orgs advocating violence in Palestine.
  • Canada should invest in rebuilding educational, economic, and other public infrastructure in Gaza.
  • Canada needs to do much more to help evacuate and settle refugees seeking to flee Gaza.


mid-April: What should Canada do domestically?

This includes sub-topics like anti-hate measures, protecting the freedom of expression, recognizing the Nakba, investigating potentially illegal activity by Canadian organizations, engaging civil society in Canada, elevating community members or voices for peace in Canada, facilitating public dialogue and understanding, etc.

While this discussion will also focus on what the federal government can do, there will be more room for ideas for other levels of government, non-governmental institutions, civil society groups, and regular Canadians. However, these ideas should still be concrete, actionable, and relevant to all Canadians.

Some example comments for this topic:

  • Canada has long said West Bank settlements are illegal, so it should be illegal for real estate agents to sell that land in Canada.
  • The Canadian government should consult the Palestinian-Canadian community to inform its policy on Palestine.
  • Canada should require products produced in the occupied West Bank be labeled in Canada.
  • Canadian citizens should be banned from serving in foreign militaries.
  • Universities receiving federal funding should be barred from punishing staff for their private social media posts that don't break the law.
  • MPs should facilitate dialogue between Canadian citizens and civil society groups to lower tensions here and promote understanding.
  • A federal grant program could fund pro-peace journalists in both Canada and Israel-Palestine to write on the current war and its historical context.
  • Public Safety Canada should investigate organizations in Israel that have incited genocide and advise on possible sanctions.
  • The federal government must do more to combat rising antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia.