|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Verchères—Les Patriotes
May 2, 2011 – October 19, 2015
|Preceded by||Luc Malo|
|Succeeded by||riding dissolved|
November 1, 1974 |
|New Democratic Party (2011-2014)|
|Alma mater||Université de Montréal|
Sana Hassainia (born November 1, 1974) is a Tunisian born Canadian politician. She was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2011 election as the New Democratic Member of Parliament for Verchères—Les Patriotes. She left the NDP caucus on August 20, 2014 as the result of a dispute with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair's position on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and completed her term as an Independent MP.
Split with NDP
On August 20, 2014, Hassainia announced she was leaving the NDP and will sit as an Independent due to Mulcair's "excessively pro-Israel stance on the current conflict in Gaza and demeaning party demands to toe the line." Hassainia claimed that she was "punished" for supporting Brian Topp (who previously challenged Mulcair for the party's leaderships) by being removed from her position with Commons committee on the Status of Women. Regarding the Middle East, Hassainia stated that she could not support the position adopted by the NDP under Mulcair." Following her announcement, Hassainia stated that "a party leader should be loved like [former leader] Jack Layton and not feared. Today, I have the courage to make a significant gesture, to take a weight off my shoulders and stand by my convictions."
In her blog, Hassainia blamed "pressures within and outside the party" for the shift in the NDP's position towards the Middle East, and stated that "To declare that we are in favour of peace in the Middle East is not a position, in fact it's a non-position — it's a way to avoid the issue and postpone a discussion on a topic that 'angers.'"
However, according to the Canadian Press, sources within the NDP subsequently claimed that Hassainia had never expressed concerns with the party's position towards the Israel/Palestine conflict prior to her announcement and accused her of "simply looking for an excuse to cover the fact that she rarely shows up for work." The National Post noted that Hassainia participated in only 8.7% of votes in the House of Commons for the first seven months of 2014, which meant that she had the lowest attendance record of any MP during this period. Another source claimed that the NDP "bent over backwards" to accommodate Hassainia's schedule, but that Nycole Turmel (the NDP party whip) became "frustrated in her efforts to get Hassainia to show up for votes and perform other parliamentary duties."
In response to Hassainia's announcement, Mulcair stated that she had never expressed concern with his position towards Israel. Muclair stated that the NDP's policy for supporting the Two-State Solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict remains unchanged from when Jack Layton was leader, while adding that "in her note, [Hassainia] made it clear that she doesn't agree with that."
Hassiania was criticized for her poor attendance record in both in the House (in 2014 she attended 16 of 269 votes) and at her constituency office; she defended herself saying that her commitment to her caring for her two young children took her away from the House in early evenings when many votes take place.
- Election 2011: Verchères—Les Patriotes. The Globe and Mail, May 2, 2011.
- "Une députée néo-démocrate devient mère." Branchez-vous matin., 14 November 2011.
- Robertson, Dylan (15 January 2015). "When is it okay to miss Parliament? Independent MP Sana Hassainia on why she was only at 16 of 269 votes". National Post.
- New Democrat MP quits party because she thinks Mulcair is too pro-Israel by Joan Bryden, Canadian Press (reprinted in the National Post), August 20, 2014.
- Quebec NDP MP Sana Hassainia defects over Mideast position by Susana Mas, CBC News, Aug 20, 2014.
- NDP MP Sana Hassainia quits, says Mulcair too pro-Israel, QMI Agency (reprinted in the Toronto Sun), August 20, 2014.
- "'Mom-MP' Sana Hassainia won't seek re-election". Ottawa Citizen. February 5, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.