The Green Party and its governing body have legal proceedings underway related to the ongoing internal party turmoil and its leader, Annamie Paul, an email sent to party members confirmed on Wednesday.
The email, which one source told Global News was sent to the entire membership of the party, alluded to the legal action but shared no specific details, citing a disputed understanding of the confidential nature of the documents.
“We are writing to inform you that the Green Party of Canada and the Green Party of Canada Fund have filed an application in the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario. The application relates to certain internal proceedings of the Federal Council and the Executive Director related to the Leader of the Party,” read the email.
“We understand that the Leader is of the view that the Party is bound by certain rules of confidentiality, which we dispute. As such, we will not be providing you with further details regarding the nature of the proceedings at this time.”
The email added that the document is public, and can be viewed by searching the case number.
The Green Party of Canada Fund said that an arbitrator exceeded their authority when they required party executives to call off their vote of non-confidence against Paul last weekend, according to court filings.
The filings argued that Paul’s employment contract was with the Green Fund and not with the federal council, the latter of which is the main governing body of the party that had tried to boot the green leader.
According to the Canadian Press, the filings said that the arbitrator had no authority to impose orders, like backing down on the non-confidence vote, on the council, which is not connected to Paul’s contract.
Green Party spokesperson Rosie Emery did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Just this morning, Paul said she felt the questions about her leadership are in the rearview mirror — for now. Her sentiments come after party tensions have cooled in recent days. On Sunday, party executives called off a non-confidence vote set to take place this week. Had that vote taken place, it could have kick-started the process of booting Paul from her position as the party’s leader.
A party membership review, which was launched last week and would have seen Paul’s membership suspended, has also halted.
“It’s certainly great that that has been put behind us for now,” Paul said, speaking with host Greg Brady in an interview for 640 Toronto on Wednesday morning.
“What we didn’t have, and what we have now, is just more certainty or clarity for our candidates, for our volunteers … about my leadership so that they can plan.”
Paul won the 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.
But less than two months after taking over at the party’s helm, Paul started experiencing internal bumps in the road. At the end of November 2020, the party’s federal council was sent a letter that alleged a “pattern of poor governance” within the Green Party.
The internal turmoil burst out from behind closed doors when former Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to join the Liberal Party on June 10, slamming the infighting among the Greens over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a “distraction” on her way out.
Paul, however, said Atwin’s departure from the party was the result of conversations that predated this year’s flare-up of violence between Israel and Hamas.
Some members of the Green Party’s governing body, the federal council, held a former advisor of Paul’s responsible for Atwin’s defection from the Greens to the Liberals. They demanded she repudiate him — and if she rejected the request, they said they’d conduct a non-confidence vote.
However, Paul dodged that bullet when party members opted to call off the potential vote.
Elizabeth May, who is currently one of the Greens’ only two MPs, also came to Paul’s defence in a Tuesday statement.
“I stepped down as leader of the Green Party less than two years ago, despite our best ever results in electing three MPs, knowing it was time for new leadership,” she said in a statement. “That new leader is Annamie Paul.”
— with files from Global News’ Eric Stober and The Canadian Press