Green Party takes steps that could lead to removal of leader Annamie Paul

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The Green Party of Canada has taken steps to try to formally remove its leader Annamie Paul.

On Tuesday night, the party is set to hold a vote that — if successful — would kick off a process that could ultimately see Paul turfed as the party’s leader, according to a source who spoke to Global News and reports in The Canadian Press.

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The move comes less than a week after former Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor and joined the Liberals, referring to infighting among the Greens over the Israel-Hamas conflict as a “distraction” that prevented her from doing her job to the best of her abilities.

Former party leader and current Green MP Elizabeth May told Global News that under the party’s constitution, “no vote of non-confidence can happen without a 30-day notice for a special meeting called for that purpose.”

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She and a party spokesperson both said any processes that play out will be public.

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Paul won leadership in October of last year with 54 per cent of the vote on the eighth ballot. Paul’s 12,090 votes allowed her to pull ahead of runner-up Dimitri Lascaris in a race that saw 69 per cent of party members vote.

The party’s infighting has been ongoing for months now.

Global News obtained a letter sent to the party’s federal council at the end of November 2020. That letter alleged a “pattern of poor governance” within the Green Party.

Read more: Some Greens worry internal conflict will hobble new leader Annamie Paul in the next election

Former interim party leader Jo-Ann Roberts, 2019 national party campaign director Jonathan Dickie, a past president and a past vice-president were among those who signed that November letter.

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“They’re having these internal conflicts and it’s really stopping a lot of their momentum,” Dickie said in an interview with Global News in February.

“I could see the downsides going into the next election where it may be more difficult for Annamie to position the party.”

Tensions over different views among party members on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also spilled over into the public sphere on last week, with some members claiming Paul’s senior advisor had been fired “due to his anti-Palestinian statements.”

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However, when contacted by Global News, the advisor denied that he had been fired.

Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, Paul said the members of her party had given her a “really strong mandate” to serve as leader.

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“There are those that are going to continue to support others, including some of the other candidates who ran, and I would just encourage them again to respect the will of the members who made it very clear who they were seeking to have lead them at this point,” Paul said Tuesday.

Read more: Green Party frontrunner Annamie Paul wins leadership on 8th ballot

She added that there will be an “automatic leadership review” immediately after the next election, and members will have the opportunity to “pass judgment soon enough.”

“It’s important for none of us seek to circumvent the democratic process,” she said.

“In this case, we have to make sure it’s the members and their wishes are what we’re respecting.”

Operation Black Vote, an organization that works to help elect Black Canadians across all parties, said in a statement Tuesday that it was “disappointed and dismayed” over the possible removal of Paul, who is the first Black leader of a major political party in Canada’s history.

“The experience that Ms. Paul has had to date is inexcusable, and is unlike the experiences of her federal counterparts or predecessor in the Green Party of Canada,” the organization said.

— With a file from The Canadian Press


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