Attacking your own party achieves what exactly?
In an ever deteriorating saga within the Green Party, there are indications that there is a coordinated attack taking place against the Green Party by its leader and her team, many of whom are former campaign hands. Repeated news stories naming “unnamed sources” leaking 1-sided information, sometimes false, sprung up across the internet last week. Most were informative in nature despite their bias, but lately the anti-palestinian media has begun to chime in, with the narrative turning nasty toward the Green Party and its members.
Ottawa Life Magazine’s editor Dan Donovan’s editorial on Friday is an example of the extreme negativism being directed toward the Green Party and its members. It is a highly biased piece. National Post columnist Rex Murphy’s rant a couple days ago wasn’t much better—a poor example of journalism—but then he’s not one. Or at least no one takes him seriously any more. But, Donovan’s rant on Friday, in an unsolicited email that went out to many Green Party members across the country, was very harsh. It’s riddled with false assumptions and extreme accusations. I lodged a complaint about it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you received this unsolicited email as well, please report it to Mail Chimp.
To think the party of peace and love—what is essentially a “Gandhi party”—a party that believes in peaceful demonstration and protest-only, would be so brutally scandalized in such a false and harsh manner just because Green Party staff pushed back against its new leader, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What kind of a leader goes public with an internal dispute? If it’s really that bad why wouldn’t you go to the membership instead of airing the party’s dirty laundry in public? What kind of leader risks the party’s future to win an internal argument?
These are the questions I now find myself asking. Why would the new leader of a federal party go to the lengths Ms. Paul has gone to, to discredit the very Party she leads? Encouraging members of the media to discredit the Green Party and its members along the way.
If you haven’t been following along, you can read my first post on the turmoil inside the Green Party here.
You can read Mr. Donovan’s attack on the Green Party here. I won’t address most of his rant because I hope Canadians know that Greens are people who fight for equity everyday. So, to accuse the Party of racism and sexism without providing proof, as she and her team have done, is really quite extraordinary.
I do, however, want to address Donovan’s assertion that the Greens never gain any ground because the Party never matured. In reality the Green Party has always struggled to get traction because it is the fourth party. It holds no power and in a First Past the Post electoral system, where the majority of voters are terrified to see either the “corrupt Liberals” or the “fascist Conservatives” form government, its hard to get Canadians to move away from the traditional two parties. The NDP have never formed government at the federal level. I'm guessing they have a similar problem.
So, every election, the majority of Canadians vote AGAINST who they DON’T want rather than voting FOR who they DO want.
In 40 years, the Green Party has won a maximum of three seats at one time in an election (2019). It now hold two seats, both are on Vancouver Island.
Nevertheless, its incorrect to suggest the Green Party doesn’t do well because it’s filled with extremists. It’s not, it’s filled with people who like to think for themselves—Innovators and small business people. Traditional Greens are community leaders, professionals, civil servants, soldiers, police, researchers, activists, students, builders, renovators, parents and people who just enjoy being outside and active. Young and old, men and women—Canadians from all walks of life. The Green Party is a big tent party.
Green Party members come together around their love for the environment and their desire to limit climate change. Greens are people who are leaders. They don’t follow blindly. They are people you need to convince to follow you. If you don’t, they won’t. Most Greens are quiet people. Not activists really, just strong willed Canadians who believe in sustainability and who are tired of the corruption that surrounds us. Who doesn’t get disappointed by the actions of politicians on Parliament Hill? Living in Ottawa, I get to see it up close.
Enter Annamie Paul, given every advantage and basically installed as Green Party leader in what was a flawed and unfair Green Party leadership contest in 2020. She accepted Elizabeth May’s endorsement even before the nominations closed and before Dr. Courtney Howard entered the race. And, Ms. Paul had exclusive access to Elizabeth May’s private contact list, first, before an arrangement was made to provide access to all equity candidates. But, far too late to prevent Elizabeth May supporters from getting behind Ms. Paul financially. The leadership contest was so one sided it was virtually over before it started.
Despite all the advantages and the opportunity to work with the people who carried the party forward over the last 15 years, Ms. Paul and her team have instead leaked party information to the press and made hollow accusations of racism and sexism against Party officials. This trend began long before Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to join the Liberals.
Sean Yo, Ms. Paul’s campaign manager during the Toronto Centre by-election last fall, made a blanket allegation against Green Party staff, claiming in a Toronto Star article earlier this year that the only reason Ms. Paul was receiving pushback was because GPC staff were racist.
I can think of many reasons why staff might want to push back. Demanding too much money in your contract negotiation would be one reason. Threatening to quit and walk away would be another. But, the most likely cause of the initial stonewalling I believe was a desire by staff to protect their jobs. GPC staff are about to become unionized. They were just downsized last week by 50%. Those who are left have been with the Party through thick and thin, during much of the time Elizabeth May was leader. In 2006, after the last leadership contest, most GPC staff were fired. The Party lost good people (thinking of you Beth McKinnon) and it lost a lot of institutional knowledge. Why would the Party want to make that mistake again just because it has a new leader? New faces are always welcome but cleaning house completely would not benefit anyone. As it didn’t in 2006.
Sadly, it was Ms. Paul and her team who decided to take their internal battle with the Green Party public. It was Ms. Paul and her team that made accusations of racism and sexism without proof. It was Ms. Paul and her team who threatened sitting Green Party MPs, and it was Ms. Paul who lied to the Globe and Mail editorial board.
There is only one person who is responsible for running a smear campaign against the Green Party of Canada—Quite unexplainably, It’s the Party’s new leader, Annamie Paul.