Green leader says efforts to remove her from post motivated by racism, sexism
OTTAWA -- Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is calling out efforts by members of the party’s governing body to force her removal following internal policy disputes as “racist” and “sexist.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, a day after an emergency meeting to discuss the fate of her leadership, Paul said while many of the individuals that sit on the Federal Council remain committed to a mandate of “transformation and diversity,” others don’t.
“A small group of councillors sought to force a vote of no-confidence in my leadership. They did so with no substantive consultation with the members they represent. They produced a list of allegations that were so racist, so sexist, that they were immediately disavowed by both our MPs as offensive and inflammatory and contrary to party ethics,” she said.
In a letter detailing allegations against Paul, which was obtained by CTV News, members accuse the leader of “acting with an autocratic attitude of hostility, superiority and rejection, failing to assume her duty to be an active, contributing, respectful, attentive member of Federal Council, failing to develop a collaborative working relationship, failing to engage in respectful discussions, and failing to use dialogue and compromise” among other items.
Paul said their plan did not “succeed” and thanked the other councillors who rejected the allegations.
On Tuesday, the council passed a resolution that asks Paul and Green MP Paul Manly to organize a joint statement and press conference whereby the leader would “repudiate” her former senior adviser for “attacks” on party members.
“Otherwise, a vote of non-confidence in the leader will take place on July 20, 2021, as per the GPC Constitution,” the statement reads.
The internal party dispute stems from comments made about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Former Green MP Jenica Atwin had tweeted out a pro-Palestinian message, a viewpoint supported by Manly, while Paul urged for peaceful resolution and de-escalation from both sides.
The leader’s former adviser Noah Zatzman expressed an opposing view and posted on Facebook stating : "We will work to defeat you and bring in progressive climate champions who are antifa and pro LGBT and pro indigenous sovereignty and Zionists!!!!!"
These “irreconcilable” differences in opinion, as Atwin told CTV’s Question Period, led to her crossing the floor to the Liberal caucus las week.
On the resolution and whether she’ll comply, Paul said she will need to discuss with her team about how to best proceed.
“I haven’t formally received the resolution from the council, I wasn’t there during the deliberations. It’s an important matter, I want to take it very seriously. I want to make sure I give it the thought it deserves,” she said.
In a subsequent interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play, Paul added that she “doesn’t see the need” to publicly repudiate Zatzman if he no longer resides in her office.
The Green Party leader also fired off criticism at the Liberal government and specifically Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for targeting her success by poaching MPs and causing party turmoil.
“The Liberal Party of Canada has demonstrated that it is hell bent on winning their majority at almost any cost. By their admission, in recent days, they have sought to sow division, and to create disarray,” she said. “That claim that they are allies is one where they talk the talk without walking the walk. To the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, you are no ally and you are no feminist.”
The Quebec wing of the federal Green Party is calling for Paul to resign over the series of events.
“Annamie Paul, by her silence and masked support for Mr. Zatzman, is considered directly responsible for [Atwin’s] departure from the Green Caucus by members of the Quebec Wing of the Green Party,” a statement from the group reads.
“Hereby, the Quebec Wing of the Green Party of Canada, representing all local associations in Quebec, calls for the immediate resignation of the leader of the Green Party of Canada, Annamie Paul.”
On Wednesday, the two remaining Atlantic representatives on the party’s Federal Council announced their resignation.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, the former councillor for Nova Scotia Lia Renaud said she could not continue to offer her support given what’s transpired.
"I will continue to support Elizabeth May, Paul Manly, and Green Champions in Atlantic Canada in the upcoming election,” she said. "The earth is the one thing we have in common. Canadians need leaders in sustainability at all levels of government – our economy requires it. We require leaders that are planning for future generations."
In response to these moves, Paul said she is accountable to the membership that got her to this position.