Politics

Fallout from Greens' feud continues as party opts not to renew top adviser's contract

The fallout from internal feuds in the Green party continues amid accusations of intolerance and strong-arm tactics against some members.

Israel, Palestine issue 'has demonstrated the differences of opinion' within the party: Paul

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul says there are "there are differences of opinion that come up naturally within parties." (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

The fallout from internal feuds in the Green party continues amid accusations of intolerance and strong-arm tactics against some members.

Two Green party sources, who spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, confirmed that the executive committee voted Friday not to renew the contract of a senior adviser to party leader Annamie Paul when it expires next month.

The adviser, Noah Zatzman, had expressed solidarity with Israel in a May 14 social media post that accused many politicians — including unspecified Green MPs — of discrimination and antisemitism, sparking a letter-writing campaign calling for his removal.

Separately, two party executives recently announced they would step down early — including John Kidder, a vice-president on the party's governing body and husband to MP and former leader Elizabeth May. 

The resignations open up space for a slate of new candidates for executive positions in a party that has experienced growing pains and power struggles over the past couple years.

Zatzman, who declined to comment, has worked with Paul since last July and remains on board as an adviser to the leader. His six-month contract, slated to expire on July 4 and obtained by The Canadian Press, stipulates that the party will pay Zatzman a fee for time worked beyond 100 hours per month. 

Fresh fissures opened after Green MP Jenica Atwin directly challenged Paul's position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Her tweet followed one a day earlier by Green MP Paul Manly, who said the planned removal of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah "is ethnic cleansing."

Zatzman responded with a Facebook post stating that Greens "will work to defeat you and bring in progressive climate champions who are antifa and pro LGBT and pro indigenous sovereignty and Zionists!!!!!" 

A 'difference of opinion': Paul 

Atwin has previously declined requests for comment, while Manly rejected the notion that policy criticism amounts to cultural hostility. 

On Saturday, the Greens' Quebec wing released a statement saying that as long as Zatzman remained in place and was declining to apologize, it would be "difficult ... to fully collaborate with Ms. Paul and her staff."

"The GPC (Green Party of Canada) leaders' silence and inaction for the past three weeks now has shocked party members and supporters from coast to coast and called into question her ability to lead the Green party," the Quebec chapter's board said.

As of Tuesday, there were about 1,400 signatures on a letter to Paul demanding Zatzman's removal from his post. 

The Green party did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment. 

At a recent press conference, Paul declined to answer a question on her party's shifting executive roster, saying the event was intended to discuss the recent attack against a Muslim-Canadian family in London, Ont. 

"There are differences of opinion that come up naturally within parties. And certainly, Israel and Palestine is one that has demonstrated the differences of opinion," she told reporters last week in response to questions about whether there is antisemitism in her party.

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