Elizabeth May: Annamie Paul is hurting the Green Party
Author's Video Note:
Green leader Annamie Paul resigned. She did so amidst a torrent of accusations that she never had a chance due to the dreadful treatment she received from the Greens. Her charges call for a serious, independent investigation.
The strange news is that she says she did not actually resign. Despite the resignation statement, under her contract, Ms. Paul is still in charge of all party communications. After the resignation, her participation in recent council meetings has created turbulence and unpleasantness, driving a newly elected council member to resign.
Until she is no longer controlling all press statements, until the council can appoint a new interim leader, we are in an untenable situation. The Green Party’s dedicated volunteers, elected to council, are struggling with how to deal with a leader who refuses to resign after resigning. It is unprecedented in Canadian political history, but so to was having a member of the leader’s staff call for the defeat of Green MPs.
For months, many regular readers of this little missive have asked me what is really going on inside the Green Party. I do not know all details. I am not engaged in any of the various governance bodies of the party. I have been unable to speak about what I do know as Ms. Paul has instructed me quite firmly that I was never to speak about internal Green Party matters.
From the moment she became leader, I was to avoid media coverage. I totally agreed, of course. After so many years as leader, it was critical that I recede so that she could become known. I was placed under increasingly restrictive controls. Not to write my frequent column in the Hill Times, not to participate in press conferences, not quoted except rarely in party press releases, etc. That all made sense.
Even when she came to Victoria in the last weekend of the campaign, I sat behind her, but was not allowed to speak at the press conference. Imagine my distress this week at being attacked by a member of her staff in national media, claiming the leader’s office disapproved of my silence. Well, I am not much troubled by such an unworthy and nasty bit of libel.
The last straw for me was discovering that after issuing a resignation statement, Ms. Paul blocked the new Green Party president, the first indigenous president of any political party, Lorraine Rekmans, Anishinaabe from Serpent River First Nation, from making any public statement on the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
So, dear friends, even though the (former) leader has asked me not to talk, I think I need to. Canadians need to know that the only communications from the Greens are those allowed by Ms. Paul. The story will continue to be a bit one-sided.
I do not discount that something dreadful happened. We need to find out. We need to uncover any evidence of racism or anti-Semiticism. Wherever such incidents occurred, those responsible must be rooted out and accountability is required. What I also know is that much of what her staffers have alleged is categorically false.
So, expect to hear me talking. Starting this morning with Evan Soloman on CTV “Question Period.” (See YouTube video)
I will stay focused on climate work. COP26 starts at the end of this month and we have a lot of work to do.