Green Party members are voting on Annamie Paul's leadership — weeks after she said she would quit

Green Party of Canada members have started voting on whether to remove Annamie Paul as party leader — roughly a month after Paul herself announced her resignation.

The vote is going ahead while Paul and the party negotiate the terms of her exit

Annamie Paul’s voice cracks as she announces her resignation as the Green Party’s leader on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Suydam Park in Toronto. (Sam Nar/CBC)

Green Party of Canada members have started voting on whether to remove Annamie Paul as party leader — roughly a month after Paul herself announced her resignation.

"Yes, the leadership review is underway," Green Party communications director John Chenery said in an email to CBC.

Voting on Paul's leadership review began yesterday and will end on Nov. 25, the day before the party's next scheduled virtual general meeting. It's the second attempt to eject Paul from the leadership since the summer.

The Green Party of Canada is moving ahead with the leadership vote despite Paul announcing on Sept. 27 that she would be stepping down. The Toronto Star first confirmed party president Lorraine Rekmans launched the leadership review days after the federal election.

Paul personally failed to secure a seat in that election and the Green Party saw its share of the national vote diminish. Such leadership reviews are considered routine and follow an election loss, but the speed with which the party moved to launch the review reportedly caught some of Paul's supporters off-guard.

Paul's departure delayed

According to an email obtained by CBC, Paul first learned of the leadership review on Sept. 26. One day later, Paul announced her resignation — a move that should have made the leadership review moot.

But Paul's departure is moving slower than many in the party expected. She was supposed to leave earlier this month, following exit negotiations with the party.

Paul and the party are negotiating compensation for the legal fees she incurred taking the party's top brass to arbitration to block their last attempt to remove her from the leadership. In July, some on the Greens' federal council attempted to trigger an early leadership review after one of the party's MPs, Jenica Atwin, crossed the floor to the Liberals.

The arbitrator ruled in Paul's favour, telling federal party council members they could not proceed. Unsatisfied with the ruling, the party executive filed a notice of application for leave to appeal in the Ontario Superior Court that argued the arbitrator erred.

One person connected to the party, but not authorized to speak publicly, told CBC News that court application has been withdrawn. The Ontario Superior Court indicates it is still an active case.

It's not known how much compensation Paul is seeking. Green Party sources tell CBC that while the party isn't opposed to paying for Paul's legal fees, it's struggling with fundraising. Last week, the party laid off 11 staffers.

"We have been running large monthly deficits since February of this year, and our financial situation is not sustainable," says an internal party memo from the party's financial arm, the Green Fund.

"These layoffs are vitally important to avoiding insolvency and putting our party on secure financial footing heading into the next election — keeping in mind the minority nature of our current government."


David Thurton is a national reporter in CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He's worked for CBC in Fort McMurray, the Maritimes and in Canada's Arctic.