Green Leader Annamie Paul survives planned ouster, but post remains precarious

Green Leader Annamie Paul survives planned ouster, but post remains precarious

The Green Party of Canada has triggered a process that could remove Annamie Paul from the party's leadership.

It requested that Paul and Green member of Parliament Paul Manly, who represents the B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, "organize a joint statement and a press conference, where Annamie Paul would repudiate Noah Zatzman's attacks and explicitly support the [Green Party of Canada] caucus", which now only includes Manly and former leader and fellow B.C. MP Elizabeth May following Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin's recent move to the Liberal caucus. If 75 per cent of council members agree at that meeting to let a leadership vote go forward, party members could then vote to remove Paul from office through a motion at an annual general meeting.

"Many of these councillors are deeply, deeply committed to this mandate of transformation and diversity".

"However, often when people like me are elected or appointed to senior leadership roles, the rules of the game seem to change", she said.

"Since her election as leader, Annamie Paul has acted 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", the letter reads.

They said that Paul "has attended few council meetings, and when in attendance, 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.

Paul survived an emergency leadership meeting on Tuesday evening that could have kick-started the process of removing her from the leadership.

"To the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, you are no ally and you are no feminist", Paul said.

Manly declined to comment on the party's internal fissures, and May, Atwin and Zatzman did not respond to a Tyee request for such. 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.

Paul spokeswoman Rosie Emery confirmed that otherwise a vote of no-confidence in the leader will take place on July 20.

Paul said the council members who pushed for the vote "did so with no substantive consultation" with other party members.

Councillors Lia Renaud, who represents the Nova Scotia wing, and Lucas Knell, who is the Newfoundland and Labrador representative, both resigned Tuesday night, reflecting the regional toll of the infighting.

In an interview last Thursday after Atwin joined the Liberals, Dimitri Lascaris, who ran against Paul for leadership of the party past year, told iPolitics it was "imperative for the leader to get ahead of this", referring to the problems caused by Zatzman's Facebook post. Jenica Atwin had accused Israel of "apartheid", a charge that party leaders say they reject.

That post has since been deleted, though Atwin told CTV's "Question Period" on Sunday that "I certainly stand by what I'm saying".

Around the same time, Manly tweeted: "What is happening in East Jerusalem right now is ethnic cleansing". Instead, Zatzman issued a statement Wednesday morning that applauded Atwin, who says she now regrets her initial tweet that sparked this latest crisis in the Greens. "There are those who are not happy with the results, including others who ran (for the leadership), but there will be an automatic leadership review after the next election", Paul said.

The federal council consists of 18 voting members, including the party leader, and one non-voting member, who's the interim executive director.

"She's learned some very tough lessons the hard way very publicly about the need to be in touch with people, know what they're thinking", Roberts said in an interview. "I think that the conflict has reached a point where it's hard for people to work within the party".

Paul pledged to "have the humility to recognize that I will make mistakes" and seek to "repair damage" that she causes and learn from the experience "as I grow as a leader". "She is new to the job and deserves to have the chance to figure this out".

"The party (is) going through an extremely hard time, " Lascaris said.

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