Green Party federal council overstepping with leadership challenge, says former member

A second attempt to oust federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is inappropriate and could not be coming at a worse time, says P.E.I.’s former representative on the federal party’s council.

Current federal council 'holding Annamie Paul to a completely different standard,’ says Darcie Lanthier

The current Green Party council has overstepped, says Darcie Lanthier. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

A second attempt to oust federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is inappropriate and could not be coming at a worse time, says P.E.I.'s former representative on the federal party's council.

"It's quite mind boggling," says Darcie Lanthier.

"I don't think any of it should be happening. I think this current federal council is holding Annamie Paul to a completely different standard than any other previous federal council has held any previous leaders."

The Green Party's governing body will meet on July 20 to vote on a motion of non-confidence, following the issuing of an ultimatum last month. The council is moving to sanction Paul for "failing to openly condemn the actions of Noah Zatzman," Paul's former political adviser, who called out party members online who criticized Paul's position on the Middle East.

The current council has overstepped its authority, said Lanthier. In a normal year the council would have faced elections in the spring but those have been rescheduled for August. Some members have already resigned, and there are currently no members from Atlantic Canada.

Election expected

What makes the timing even worse, said Lanthier, is the possibility of a looming federal election.

"It's a horrible mistake," she said.

"There could be an election called, you know, as soon as a few weeks from now."

Lanthier said she likes what she sees in Paul's leadership.

'The most conspicuous difference is skin colour,' says Darcie Lanthier of the troubles faced by Annamie Paul. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

"Annamie Paul is doing a lot of really great organizing. I'm just starting now to see her vision for the party shaping up and I think it would be a terrible shame to stop her at this point."

Council should let Paul proceed with the coming election campaign and have a leadership review afterward, said Lanthier, which is the standard laid out in the party's constitution.

Lanthier said as she has considered why Paul is being treated as she is she can only think of one reason.

"The most conspicuous difference is skin colour," she said.

"I hate to say that that's what's happening, but I don't I honestly don't see another excuse for it."

'Unmitigated disaster'

UPEI political scientist Peter McKenna agrees the timing for the leadership controversy could not be worse.

"It's an unmitigated disaster, is what it is," said McKenna.

"We are on the cusp of a federal election this fall. I mean, the party leaders of all the other parties are already out campaigning."

The implications of the controversy go beyond any impact on public opinion of the party, he said. He noted the party is well behind in recruiting candidates, with only about 40 lined up so far.

While he said he has no particular insight into the thinking of the people on the council, he said the fact that the controversy is dragging on for so long does not bode well for Paul's continued leadership.

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With files from Wayne Thibodeau