Politics

Green Party postpones national convention as federal election gets underway

In the midst of a federal election campaign, the Green Party has postponed its national convention that was supposed to take place this week, sources confirm to CBC News.

The delay comes as a relief for some who saw it as distraction from the campaign

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is shown as she launches her federal election campaign in the riding of Toronto Centre on Sunday. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

The Green Party has postponed its national convention that was supposed to take place this week in the midst of a federal election campaign, CBC News has confirmed.

The convention, which would have taken place during a general election, would have distracted from the party's ability to focus on fighting an election. 

The party's federal council decided to suspend its general meeting Thursday at an emergency meeting, and it marks a de-escalation after months of infighting within the Greens. The convention could have been an opportunity for some discontent with Annamie Paul's leadership to air their grievances.

No date has been set for the convention but, Green Party press secretary Rosie Emery said it had been pushed back until mid-November — after the election.

Since the snap election had been called Sunday, a source said Paul and her team had noticed a significant change in support from Green Party headquarters. Paul doesn't have a seat in the House of Commons and is running in the Liberal-held riding of Toronto Centre.

After months of obstruction, the source said, party headquarters and other senior officials have been more helpful than previously. Paul's staff has been rehired and the party is paying for technical support and other equipment, the source confirmed. The party has also posted openings for several election-related positions with start dates "as soon as possible," according to the website,

But the party still doesn't have a national campaign manager, it trails other parties in the number of nominated candidates and it's unclear whether the party would have the budget for Paul to travel outside of Toronto. At a news conference in Toronto Thursday, Paul said the Greens can run a national campaign with the help of volunteers.

"I'm going to be talking about national issues that are going to inform our national campaign. I'm going to be able to do it from here," Paul told reporters.

The turmoil in the Greens reached its peak after one of its New Brunswick MPs, Jenica Atwin, left the party and joined the Liberals. Following Atwin's exit from the Greens, a faction on the party's federal council triggered a confidence vote against Paul. After involving lawyers and going to arbitration, the challenge to her leadership was cancelled. 

Paul said the push by some members of the party brass to oust her was driven by racism and sexism

In June, she wrote in a Facebook post: "Often, when people like me are elected or appointed to positions of senior leadership, the rules of the game seem to change: suddenly there needs to be more oversight, more accountability, and swifter and more severe sanctions."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

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