Politics

May calls 2021 'very bad year' for Greens, says party back to its values

In a fundraising email, former Green leader Elizabeth May had blunt words about how her party fared under the leadership of Annamie Paul, but said she feels it's on a better path under new leadership.

The former leader and current MP didn't mince words in a recent fundraising email

Green Party MP and former leader Elizabeth May has acknowledged her party's difficult year. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May was blunt about her party's poor performance in 2021 under the leadership of Annamie Paul, but said she feels it's on a better path now.

In a fundraising email Thursday titled "Let's rebuild together," May does not mention former Green leader Paul by name, but says the party is "back to being grounded in its values" under new leadership.

Paul, who was May's successor, resigned as leader in November. Her time as Green leader was tumultuous, marked by conflicts with some party members and the party's executive council, which at one point threatened to revoke her party membership.

Paul failed to win a seat in Parliament in the 2021 federal election, which saw the Greens get just over two per cent of the popular vote. May was re-elected in the riding of Saanich–Gulf Islands, and now serves as the Greens' parliamentary leader.

Former Green Party leader Annamie Paul resigned in November after a turbulent year that saw the party's vote share and membership fall significantly. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Combined with COVID-19, natural disasters, and a global climate conference that didn't meet her expectations, May said it was a year she's not sorry to say goodbye to.

"I am grateful that the party I love has already turned a corner from that very bad year," she said. 

"Thanks to leadership from a terrific new council and President Lorraine Rekmans, whose patience is astonishing, and to a gifted and brilliant Interim Leader Amita Kuttner, we are back to being grounded in our values."

Kuttner, an astrophysicist and a previous candidate for Green leadership, became interim leader in November. They have said they do not intend to seek the permanent role.

The party faces significant financial challenges. Earlier this month, it made news when it considered closing its Ottawa office. The turbulent year also saw the party lose thousands of members and significant number of donors.

Paul has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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