Local Greens react to Annamie Paul's resignation

P.E.I.'s member of the Green Party of Canada's federal council says the party needs to reform the way it operates.

'People were not building a team, and council needs to build and work as a team'

Darcie Lanthier, who sits on the federal Green Party council, says she doesn't blame Annamie Paul for stepping down as leader. (Nicola MacLeod/CBC)

P.E.I.'s member of the Green Party of Canada's federal council says the party needs to change the way it operates in order to "heal" before the next election.

Darcie Lanthier made the comments after Green Party leader Annamie Paul resigned on Monday. Paul said she could no longer fight with her party.

"People were not building a team and council needs to build and work as a team," she said.

"And I've been on some very successful councils where we had a lot of team spirit, and I hope that we're going back to that."

Paul's short time as leader was hampered by party infighting and a dispute over the party's policy on Israeli and Palestinian issues. Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin ending up leaving the party and running as a Liberal, defeating her successor.

Lanthier, a two-time Charlottetown Green Party candidate who finished fourth in the Sept. 20 election, said there were a lot of new people on the Green federal council. She said things changed "in a negative way."

Saddened by resignation

Lanthier said she is saddened by Paul's resignation, but doesn't blame her for choosing to step away.

"It's probably the worst year imaginable when it should have been one of the best."

Anna Keenan, who ran for the Greens in the Sept. 20 election, says the leadership controversy hurt the party's reputation. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The Greens share of the popular vote dwindled to 2.32 per cent in 2021 from 6.55 per cent in 2019. Support for the Greens fell to just under 400,000 votes in 2021, down from nearly 1.2 million in 2019.

Anna Keenan, a Green Party candidate who finished third in the Malpeque riding, said the leadership issues hurt the party at the voting booth.

"It was clear that no matter how well we did locally, the party's reputation had been tarnished through the controversy that had happened in the summer."

'Wish her the best'

The provincial Green Party forms the Official Opposition on P.E.I., with eight MLAs. Leader Peter Bevan-Baker issued an email statement to CBC on Monday acknowledging the challenges faced by his federal counterparts.

"The scrutiny a person submits themselves to when they are in a position of leadership can be quite difficult and uncomfortable," he said.

"I respect Annamie's decision to resign and wish her the best. I sincerely hope the Green Party of Canada is able to pull together and rebuild as it begins the process of determining a path forward."

Lanthier thinks the party can rebuild in time for the next federal election.

"We'll have a new leader and we need to reform a lot of the behaviours and actions of federal council, and I'm 100 per cent for that."

With files from Nicola MacLeod