The Green Party of Canada has taken steps to attempt to formally remove its leader Annamie Paul.
On Tuesday night, the party is ready to carry a vote that — if successful — would kick off a process that might ultimately see Paul turfed because the party’s leader, in line with a source who spoke to Global News and reports in The Canadian Press.
The move comes lower than every week after former Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the ground and joined the Liberals, referring to infighting among the many Greens over the Israel-Hamas conflict as a “distraction” that prevented her from doing her job to the very best of her abilities.
Former party leader and current Green MP Elizabeth May told Global News that under the party’s structure, “no vote of non-confidence can occur and not using a 30-day notice for a special meeting called for that purpose.”
She and a celebration spokesperson each said any processes that play out will likely be public.
Paul won leadership in October of last 12 months with 54 per cent of the vote on the eighth ballot. Paul’s 12,090 votes allowed her to drag ahead of runner-up Dimitri Lascaris in a race that saw 69 per cent of party members vote.
The party’s infighting has been ongoing for months now.
Global News obtained a letter sent to the party’s federal council at the tip of November 2020. That letter alleged a “pattern of poor governance” throughout the Green Party.
Former interim party leader Jo-Ann Roberts, 2019 national party campaign director Jonathan Dickie, a past president and a past vice-president were amongst those that signed that November letter.
“They’re having these internal conflicts and it’s really stopping quite a lot of their momentum,” Dickie said in an interview with Global News in February.
“I could see the downsides going into the subsequent election where it might be harder for Annamie to position the party.”
Tensions over different views amongst party members on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also spilled over into the general public sphere on last week, with some members claiming Paul’s senior advisor had been fired “as a result of his anti-Palestinian statements.”
Nonetheless, when contacted by Global News, the advisor denied that he had been fired.
Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, Paul said the members of her party had given her a “really strong mandate” to function leader.
“There are those which might be going to proceed to support others, including a number of the other candidates who ran, and I might just encourage them again to respect the desire of the members who made it very clear who they were looking for to have lead them at this point,” Paul said Tuesday.
She added that there will likely be an “automatic leadership review” immediately after the subsequent election, and members could have the chance to “pass judgment soon enough.”
“It’s necessary for none of us seek to bypass the democratic process,” she said.
“On this case, we’ve to be sure that it’s the members and their wishes are what we’re respecting.”
Operation Black Vote, a company that works to assist elect Black Canadians across all parties, said in an announcement Tuesday that it was “disillusioned and dismayed” over the possible removal of Paul, who’s the primary Black leader of a serious political party in Canada’s history.
“The experience that Ms. Paul has had so far is inexcusable, and is unlike the experiences of her federal counterparts or predecessor within the Green Party of Canada,” the organization said.
— With a file from The Canadian Press