Green Party Leader Paul doubles down, rejects push for her ouster
OTTAWA -- Under attack by her own party’s executives, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is doubling down in defiance of calls for her to step down or take steps to avoid facing an all-party vote on her leadership.
“This is a small group of councillors who will be departing within weeks as their terms end,” she told reporters Thursday morning. “Of course there are some members who don't want me to be the leader, but so many do.”
Asked how she plans to move forward, Paul said she plans to keep focused on policy. She convened the press conference to call on the federal government to decriminalize all illicit drugs by Canada Day.
Paul’s remarks Thursday came on the heels of her slamming the members of the Green Party governing body who have been pushing for a vote of no-confidence in her leadership the night before, when she accused a “small number” of senior Greens of racism and sexism in their efforts to oust her.
In what Paul has described as “inflammatory” internal party documents obtained by CTV News detailing allegations against her, members accuse the leader of “acting with an autocratic attitude of hostility, superiority and rejection,” and alleging she has “has displayed anger in long, repetitive, aggressive monologues and has failed to recognize the value of any ideas except her own.”
Paul characterized her accusers as a small number of top members seeking to frame her as “an angry Black woman,” and said the two Green MPs Elizabeth May and Paul Manley have “denounced” the claims.
The Green Party leader has sought to use the spotlight on her resulting from this internal turmoil to make a plea to the party grassroots and potential supporters across the country to join her in pushing to make the party the most diverse on the Canadian political stage.
“First woman of colour, first Black person, and first Jewish woman ever elected to lead a major federal party. It was never going to be a walk in the park,” Paul said Wednesday.
Seeing Paul removed from her leadership role — one she’s held for less than a year — is a prospect still on the table as Paul has not yet done what the Federal Council has requested to avoid a vote of no-confidence next month. Further, some members of the party continue to call for her resignation.
The council is demanding Paul “repudiate” her former senior adviser for “attacks” on party members — to avoid a potential membership vote on whether she should remain at the helm.
Dismissing the council’s request stating that it’s unnecessary because the staffer no longer works for her, Paul said she has no plans to heed these calls.
The “attacks” are in reference to a dispute over comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that largely played out on social media between Paul’s former adviser and Jenica Atwin. Atwin crossed the floor to the Liberals last week, citing the tensions as a driving force, something Paul has cast doubt on, chalking it up to “shady,” “cynical” and “craven” political opportunism instigated by the Liberal Party.
Focusing her aim on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who was abroad when Atwin crossed the floor but reportedly in the loop on the attempts to bring Atwin into the Liberal fold — Paul said in her view he is “no ally and no feminist” to seek to undermine her leadership.
Asked about allegations of racism within the Green Party, and Paul’s comments about Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said Thursday that he has “great respect” for Paul, calling himself a “green Conservative,” citing his party’s climate policy.
“My interactions with her have been very engaging. I find her very intelligent, a very effective advocate. We certainly have some differences… What I can say is this: Mr. Trudeau lets down everyone he makes promises to,” he said, going on to make the case for why his party is the best place for disaffected Canadians.
With files from CTV News’ Sarah Turnbull