Green Party leader Annamie Paul should resign

Green Party leader Annamie Paul should resign
Posted on July 13, 2021 | James O'Grady | Written on July 13, 2021
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Letter type:
Op-Ed

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Crying the "wolf of racism" everytime someone disagrees with you has a short shelf life. 

For all the crazy political things that have happened since the last federal election in 2019, new Green Party leader Annamie Paul lying to the Globe and Mail editorial board is among the weirdest.

Amid hollow accusations of racism inside a party that fights for equity rights on a daily basis, and the loss of 1/3 of the Green caucus over the Israeli-Palestinian crisis where Paul’s Republican-sounding aid, Noah Zatzman claimed the party would work to defeat any member that didn’t fall in line. (The Green Party doesn’t whip its candidates or MPs and it would never work to defeat their own MPs. The suggestion is ludicrous.) Annamie Paul’s false claim that she doesn’t have to apologize to the remaining Green caucus for Zatzman’s threat, and in particular to Paul Manley the other Green Party MP besides Elizabeth May, is mind boggling because she IS still required to do it. Despite everything, she still hasn't denounced Zatzman or his attack on Green MPs in what can only be characterized as an extremely anti-Green statement. 

How we got to this place is too long and detailed to get into here. You would need to know the history of the party and characters involved. However, this recent article in the Globe and Mail does a good job of detailing the key events: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-green-partys-potential-crumbles-in-small-time-bickering/

Suffice to say that Greens were willing to give Ms. Paul the benefit of the doubt at first. Party members know how controlling former leader Elizabeth May was and they knew she would never give up power easily. That Ms. Paul would run into difficulty in the transition period was expected.

But, Ms. Paul’s handling of the internal conflict has been amateurish at best. First, she made the colossal mistake of letting her team air the Party's dirty laundry, which is never a good idea because once that happens you can't control the narrative. Ever since her team has been busy leaking information to the press that is 1-sided and often misrepresents the facts. The latest being an internal motion that didn't go anywhere about restricting her election campaign budget for Toronto Centre. One gets the impression in this article that its still going to happen when its not. You can read about it here: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/green-party-brass-move-to-block-funding-for-leader-annamie-paul-s-riding-campaign/ar-AAM5Jkj?ocid=msedgntp 

The Green Party prides itself on its honesty and on its ability to look voters in the eye and to tell them the truth about climate change and the threat it poses to humanity. They do it every election. So, for their new leader to intentionally misrepresent facts and provide the Globe and Mail editorial board with false information is a bridge way too far for most Green Party members.

As that spiral continued to grow, she then let her attack dog loose in Zatzman. Some Green Party members believe Zatzman was an Israeli plant, sent to make sure the Green Party doesn't get behind the Palestinian cause. I sure hope not, because whereever you stand on that issue, its not nearly as important as fighting the climate crisis. Its a 3000 year old blood feud that started with the rape of the biblical Jacob's daughter, in the Bronze Age (one hell of a long time ago). The Green Party of Canada has no business being anywhere near the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it involves armed conflict on both sides. The Green Party's core value of Non-violence should prohibit it from taking sides in any armed conflict. 

And while that was going on, Jenica Atwin, the Green MP in Fredicton crossed the floor to join the Liberals even though she supports the Palestinian cause. Indicating to everyone that Ms. Paul wasn't even trying to work with her caucus. A leader must work with a Party’s caucus of elected MPs. To think that they would just do as she asked, just because, without consulting them, in a grassroots party like the Greens, is very naive. It shows a tremendous lack of understanding of the Green Party and her role as leader to be a spokesperson.

I can understand why she might not like this, but the Green Party has developed its positions over decades in order to better meet the needs of Canadians. Not whipping MPs and candidates is a long standing policy. Most Canadians, in my opinion, don’t like that their chosen candidates and MPs are whipped because they have willingly given up their right to independently represent their constituents, which is part of their job description. Not whipping MPs means MPs can voice their own opinions and those of their consituents, and by doing so better represent their constituency. The Green Party leader needs to work with caucus to come up with a joint position that doesn’t conflict with Green Party policy or its six core values of Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Respect for Diversity, Non-violence, Participatory Democracy and Sustainability.

As a result of her actions with the Globe and Mail editorial board, Green Party president Liana Canton Cusmano was forced to hold a town-hall meeting on June 30th to explain the facts to Green Party members and to set the record straight. The Green Party prides itself on its honesty and on its ability to look voters in the eye and to tell them the truth about climate change and the threat it poses to humanity. They do it every election. So, for their new leader to intentionally misrepresent facts and provide the Globe and Mail editorial board with false information is a bridge way too far for most Green Party members.

Even now, as she faces a Federal Council meeting that threatens a vote of no-confidence of her leadership on July 20th, she continues to deny the obvious—the many mistakes she’s made have destroyed her credibility both inside and outside the Green Party. Potential candidates are pulling out, smaller EDAs have folded and members are leaving. The Green Party will never be able to run a full slate of candidates now with Ms. Paul at the helm given everything that has happened. 

Because she is no longer credible, she can not lead the Green Party into the next federal election. The Greens always face an upward battle at election time. They don’t need any more challenges to overcome. And, the Global Green movement is bigger than any one person. Its too important for one person to stand in the way. Time for Ms. Paul to acknowledge this fact and step down so the Green Party of Canada can get back to its mandate. Because until she does, she’s nothing more than a “Dead-Leader-Walking”. 

Part 2: Attacking your own party achieves what exactly? 

About The Author

James OGrady's picture

I am a social media entrepreneur, communications professional, part-time school teacher and community leader living in Nepean, Ontario. I am also a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate... More