Green Leader Annamie Paul says attempt to force her out driven by racism, sexism

Annamie Paul has pledged to stay on as leader of Canada's Green Party and is claiming attempts to force her out of the top job were being driven by racism and sexism.

Paul is still facing a possible no-confidence vote as soon as July 20

Green Party leader Annamie Paul said the attempt to force her from the party was driven by a 'small group' within the Green's governing body. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Annamie Paul has pledged to stay on as leader of Canada's Green Party and is claiming attempts to force her out of the top job were being driven by racism and sexism.

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

Paul told a news conference in Ottawa today that the push to eject her was led by a "small group" of party brass "who are on their way out."

Paul said the allegations made against her during the Tuesday meeting "were so racist, so sexist, that they were immediately disavowed by both our MPs as offensive and inflammatory."

The Green Party's federal council, the organization's governing body, ultimately opted against holding a no-confidence vote during the roughly three-and-a-half-hour emergency meeting.

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

WATCH: Green Party's Annamie Paul says attempt to force her out driven by racism, sexism:

Annamie Paul blames Green Party strife on racism, sexism

2 years ago
Duration 2:36
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul shot back at the critics inside her party trying to oust her, accusing them of using racist and sexist tropes against the first Black and Jewish woman elected to lead a federal party.

'Hostility, superiority and rejection'

CBC News obtained a copy of the letter that prompted the meeting, which contains a scathing review of Paul's leadership style.

"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.

It was written by Beverley Eert, the federal council's Manitoba representative, and Kate Storey, the party fund's representative.

"She 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," the letter continues.

The letter also blames Paul for MP Jenica Atwin's defection to the Liberals.

Atwin and Paul have expressed differing views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which Atwin identified as a factor in her departure earlier this month.

Jenica Atwin is the Liberal MP for Fredericton.
Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin left the Greens earlier this month to joing the governing Liberals. Paul's critics say she made no effort to keep Atwin from leaving. (Guy LeBlanc/Radio-Canada)

Paul instead blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals for the upheaval within the Greens. She accused Trudeau of trying to destabilize her party in way that damages the country's only female federal leader.

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

Storey, the Green council member, later tried to walk back the allegations against Paul in a leaked email in which she asked for the document to be "rescinded."

"In a spirit of reconciliation between Federal Councillors and the GPC Leader, please delete the allegation document," Storey wrote in the email.

Black former MP sees 'problematic' language in letter

Celina Caesar-Chavannes, a former Liberal MP, said the letter has abundant undertones of anti-Black racism and sexism. She said no other federal leader would be subjected to a similar line of attack.

"The whole notion of 'angry Black woman' is baked into this letter," Caesar-Chavannes told CBC News.

"There's so much language in here that is so problematic to be speaking of a leader of a federally recognized political party."

MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 25, 2018. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

While Paul avoided a no-confidence vote during the meeting, party brass adopted a separate motion asking Paul to publicly repudiate one of Paul's former senior advisers, Noah Zatzman, who had accused unnamed Green MPs of antisemitism.

The motion also calls on Paul to "explicitly support" the Green Party caucus.

Paul repeatedly expressed her support for Green MPs Elizabeth May and Paul Manly during the Wednesday news conference, but she did not repudiate Zatzman.

The motion says that if Paul does not comply with the motion, she'll face a vote of non-confidence on July 20.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

A banner of upturned fists, with the words 'Being Black in Canada'.

With files from David Thurton