As Canadian political parties prepare for an impending federal election, the Green Party of Canada has moved to withhold funding from leader Annamie Paul’s political campaign. 

A turbulent summer for the Green Party

This motion came after a tumultuous few months marked by internal strife within the party. Paul came under fire in May when she failed to condemn former spokesperson Noah Zatzman, after he made negative comments about several of the party’s Members of Parliament. In a post on his public Facebook page, Zatzman accused several political figures, including Green MPs, of anti-semitism and discrimination, and promised to defeat them. 

Following Zatzman’s statements, the Green executive committee voted not to renew the senior advisor’s contract. Additionally, the party’s governing body announced that they would pursue a vote of non-confidence against Annamie Paul on July 20th. However, members of the Green Party’s governing body disclosed on July 13th that they were cancelling the vote of non-confidence.

In an interview with CBC News, Paul explained that she believes this campaign to threaten her leadership is being led by a small minority of the party. 

“This is really just a small group of councillors, including the president, who are heading out the door […] Sometimes the most negative voices in the room are the loudest and it’s easy for them to drown out the rest.”

Balancing the budget

Despite Paul’s optimism that she will maintain leadership, members have demonstrated the sincerity of their efforts to suspend Paul’s position. In particular, party executives have moved to withhold funding from the leader’s campaign in downtown Toronto. 

At a federal council meeting on June 29th, members tabled a motion to withhold $250,000 that was previously saved for Paul’s campaign in Toronto Centre. Passing this motion would mean less funding for advertising, research, and staff resources. 

Annamie Paul is not the only member of the Green party being impacted by funding cuts. At a virtual meeting the week of June 27th, executive director Dana Taylor, announced that they would be laying off nearly half of the party’s employees. The party will be cutting the number of people it employs by fifteen people, excluding senior-level positions and their leader. These cuts could affect anyone from the party’s governance, communications, campaign, and technical support arms. 

When Paul denounced the funding cuts at the virtual meeting, she was promptly muted without notice by the executive director. 

The Green Party of Canada has been in debt for several months. According to an internal memo, the party’s spending exceeded its revenues by $105,000 in May and $130,000 in June 2021. 

Douglas Tigley, president of the Green Party of Canada Fund wrote in a report that the party’s current financial situation is unsustainable. According to the report, staffing costs account for up to 70% of the Greens’ budget. 

The report states that “The staff layoff decision will have a very significant impact on our ability to provide support to candidates and electoral district associations.” 

The future is looking dire for Annamie Paul

Interim executive director of the Greens’ main governing body, Dana Taylor has begun a membership review that would suspend Paul’s status and block her from representing the party. According to the members’ code of conduct, this process could result in Paul losing her party membership altogether. 

Taylor announced this motion at a meeting of the federal council on July 6th that Paul was not invited to. According to senior party sources, the reason for the review is that Paul launched legal proceedings against the party on accusations disputed by officials close to the leader. 

According to the code of conduct, legal actions against the Green Party of Canada by one of its members automatically triggers a review headed by the executive director. The legal proceedings in question refer to a cease-and-desist letter that Paul’s legal counsel sent to a federal council member or members. The details of the letter have yet to be released. 

As the Green Party approaches the next federal election, Paul’s position as the party’s leader is looking dubious at best.

Erika Mackenzie

Erika is working towards a Bachelor of Arts Degree from McGill University in Sociology with a double minor in International Development and Communications. Erika's passions include environmental protection, racial and gender equality, Indigenous rights, and affordability for all. Erika has also been published in the McGill Tribune and HuffPost Canada.

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