The Green Party has only three seats within the House of Commons, but newly elected Leader Annamie Paul says she wants to attach with voters to construct on that support.

“We’ve got been heading in the proper direction for a really very long time and it’s just time to make that link with people in Canada by way of who they’re selecting to vote for,” she said in an interview with Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson on The West Block.

“We’re the party that has been talking in regards to the policies that had they been in place when the pandemic hit, would have made all of the difference on this planet,” she said, referencing universal pharmacare, long-term care reform and a guaranteed livable income.

Paul, an activist and lawyer who once served as an adviser to the International Criminal Court, won the party’s leadership vote on Saturday within the eighth round of voting.

Her next challenge will probably be to win a seat within the House of Commons. Paul said she was “running to win” in Toronto Centre — former finance minister Bill Morneau’s riding, which has been a Liberal district since 1993.

“We’re not where we were before. We’re not where we were six months ago. We’re within the midst of a pandemic that has hit Toronto Centre particularly hard. And other people there, I feel, will probably be searching for the representation that is definitely going to bring the urgent help that they need,” she said.

Paul ran in Toronto Centre in 2019, picking up 3,726 votes. Morneau won the riding with 30,580 votes.

Up to now, she said Liberals would usher in their “star candidate” to the riding to draw voters. Paul said she hoped her elevated status as Green Party leader would function a bonus through the byelection on Oct. 26.

Paul is the primary Black and Jewish woman to steer a significant federal party in Canada, succeeding former leader Elizabeth May. Through the weeks leading as much as the Oct. 3 leadership vote, Paul said she was subject to relentless attacks and anti-Semitic and anti-Black hate online, made worse by added vitriol from members of her own party.

“There’s still definitely some work to do. There’s absolute confidence that the race was an eye-opener. I can’t attribute the entire comments in any respect to our membership,” she said when asked about whether she was concerned about anti-Semitism inside the party.

The brand new Green Party leader said every political party has work to do to make sure its members are inclusive and cling to their values.

“There isn’t any place within the Green Party of Canada for anti-Semitism and there never will probably be. And I might say that I hope that each one of the political parties feel that way,” said Paul.

“I will even encourage each person in Canada, whether there’s anti-Semitism or anti-Black racism or anti-Indigenous racism — after they see it, speak out, because silence emboldens the hate and that’s what we’d like to make certain we stamp out.”

Paul urged Canadians to support candidates with diverse backgrounds and encouraged people from underrepresented groups to think about a life in politics.

“There’s absolute confidence that electing someone like me, the Greens selecting someone like me, already that’s a really powerful symbol for individuals who haven’t seen themselves reflected. And I’m very happy with that,” she said.

“We all know that the perfect ideas can come from in every single place and anywhere. If we’re cutting ourselves off from that diversity, then we’re just losing out by way of the sort of policy that we’re developing.”

Paul will probably be running against Liberal candidate Marci Ien, co-host of CTV’s The Social, who’s currently on leave through the campaign, the NDP’s Brian Chang, and Conservative Ryan Lester.


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